Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, plans to hold a hearing to examine the wave of attempted book bannings in schools and libraries across the country. The hearing is set for April 7 at 10:00 a.m. ET. A livestream will be available on YouTube and the Committee on Oversight and Reform website.
The hearing comes during National Library Week, and after the American Library Association announced on Monday that it counted some 729 challenges to remove nearly 1,600 books from school and public libraries in 2021—a striking uptick and the highest number of attempted book bans in the 20 years that the ALA has tracked this data. The vast majority of challenged books involve issues of race and LGBTQ+ issues.
"The current efforts to ban books are part of a broader attack on free speech in the classroom that amounts to educational censorship," reads a release announcing the hearing. "Combatting these efforts is paramount to protecting the First Amendment rights of students and teachers, and preserving free speech in America."