PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After setting record highs across the U.S. in 2022, the State Library of Oregon released a report Tuesday showing there have been more challenges to material in Oregon public and school libraries than any other year since they began tracking in 1987.
The report looked at all challenges Oregon received and then further broke them down by who challenged the material, what the reason was for the challenge, and at which library location the challenge happened.
In total, the report said that 85 individual books were reported in 31 separate challenges, with nine people each challenging over 30 pieces of media. Only one challenge per specific media is counted in the report.
Prior to the 2022-23 report, the most challenges ever received was 70 during 1992-93.
Out of the 31 challenges, 25 were retained after review, while two were retrained but restricted, two were removed because the media was outdated or in poor condition, one was relocated and one item was not returned.
Most incidents related to challengers thinking the content was “sexually explicit” or that they objected to LGBTQIA2S+ content within the books.
The State Library of Oregon also noted that in five of the reports, items were hidden, stolen, or placed in the trash.
81% of the material challenges were at public libraries with a majority coming from library patrons, a smaller, albeit still substantial, portion of reports came from parents concerned about something affecting their children.
Several books received multiple challenges, including the “Heartstopper” series of graphic novels which received three challenges each for both the first and second books, and the teen coming-of-age novel “Me, Earl and the Dying Girl” which also received three separate challenges.
See the full list of media in the report below:
Media wasn’t the only thing being challenged. The report also tracked challenges to library services. Out of 11 total incidents, there were seven objections to Pride Month displays, for reasons including, “the exposure of children to LGBTQIA materials,” “promoting anti-faith and pro-homosexual activities and lifestyle,” and “not representing all points of view.”
There were also objections to a school’s Banned Books Week display, a public library’s Social Justice Book Club, and a Gender Affirming Closet event where a library director reported being called a “groomer” and “pedophile” due to the event, and in that situation, the report said that law enforcement got involved.