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Banned Books: Home

This guide will discuss the hot topic of banned books through answering a few main questions including: 1. What are banned books? 2. Why are books challenged/banned? 3. Where can I find these titles?

Banned Books

Banned Book Week: September 18th - 24th

Banned Books

A hot topic taking the spotlight in libraries all across the world is the topic of banned books. Take a moment to explore what it means to be a banned book, the history of banned and challenged books, and explore some of the titles being removed from the shelves in libraries and schools all across the world.

Image of reasons for book challenges

Censorship, Challenged, and Banned Books: What's the difference?


The process of banning books starts with the desire to censor the minds of readers from topics, beliefs, and opinions that are viewed as objectionable or dangerous. Therefore, the censor is attempting to remove a resource they deem to be inappropriate before others have a chance to read it. The act of censorship prevents readers from making their own decisions and establishing their own beliefs and opinions.

Challenged Books:

When a resource is challenged, someone(s) is attempting to remove or restrict that resource from view. This is not someone simply stating an opinion.

Banned Books:

When a book is banned, it has been removed from the space. For example, if a book is banned from a school library, it is no longer in circulation and cannot be viewed by students. 

Award Winning Books Meet the Challenged or Banned Book List

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Location: Mays Landing, Atlantic City, and Cape May Campuses

Call Number: PS3562.E33 L43 1982 C.1

Why: Violence, racial slurs, and racist perspectives

Award: Pulitzer Prize Winner


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Location: Mays Landing Campus

Call Number: PS3551.L3578 A27 2007

Why: profanity and racial slurs, sexual references, and topics of alcohol, poverty, bullying, and violence

Award: 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature


The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Location: Mays Landing Campus and Atlantic City Campus

Call Number: PS3573 .A425 C6 2003

Why: explicit sexuality, profanity, violence, and portrayal of drug use

Award: Pulitzer Prize Winner


Beloved by Toni Morrison

Location: Mays Landing, Atlantic City, and Cape May Campuses

Call Number: PS3563.O8749 B436 1998

Why: religious viewpoints, violence, and sexuality

Award: Pulitzer Prize Winner


Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Location: Atlantic City Campus

Call Number: PS3555 .L625 I5 1995

Why: Profanity, violence, and sexuality

Award: National Book Award


The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Location: Mays Landing Campus and Atlantic City Campus

Call Number: PS3608.O525 K58 2004

Why: sexually explicit content, offensive language, age inappropriateness, and believed to promote terrorism

Award: Boeke Prize in 2004

Censorship Facts

Links to American Library Association's Censorship Infographic

Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021

Links to Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021 webpage

Banned Books: The history, process, and examples

Reference Librarian

Recommended Banned Books


American Library Association. (2021). Banned & Challenged Classics. Advocacy, Legislation & Issues. Retrieved from