Arlington Public Library says increase in attempts to ban books is a real concern

New data released from the American Library Association says there have been 1,269 attempts to censor books or other library materials in 2022. That's almost double the number from the year before. 

"We've been tracking it pretty closely that we were experiencing record number of book challenges," says Diane Kresh, director of Arlington Public Library. 

Kresh says books most often targeted for censorship at libraries are written by or are about people of color and the LGBTQ community. Both school and public libraries are targeted, according to the American Library Association. 

"I think that books should be allowed in libraries no matter what they say. I think there's a freedom of speech," said one dad who spoke to FOX 5. 

"It doesn't have to be contemporary authors. It's James Baldwin, it's Toni Morrison, it's classics of American Literatures," Kresh explained. 

In 2022, the classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" was on the American Library Association list of the top 10 most challenged books in the country, which shocked some people FOX 5 spoke to. 

"Sometimes, the truth is kind of harsh, and it may hurt you somewhere deep inside of your feelings. But it doesn't negate the fact that some of these things actually happened," said another man who FOX 5 interviewed in Arlington. 

According to the new report, more than 2,500 unique titles were targeted for censorship in 2022. Kresh says Arlington's librarians and others are actively resisting. 

"They are facing the challenges," Kresh said. "They are willing to meet with groups. They are willing to stand up for the integrity of their collections."

Librarians will suggest books based on a reader's interest and requests, Kresh explained. But she says they will never push an opinion or ideology.

"You have the right to choose," she said. "You have the right to choose what you read, the opinions you hold, how you think and how you arrive at the decisions that are best for you." 

The American Library Association comes out with a list of the top 10 most "challenged" books each year. The list for 2022 comes out in April.