Book bans have plagued many US schools throughout 2022, with stories focusing on LGBTQ+ and race issues being targeted by conservatives across the country, and the right aims only to step up its attempts at censorship in the new year, experts warn.

States including Missouri and Utah have seen intensifying crackdowns in recent months, with some Utah school libraries now requiring permission slips for students to borrow books covering LGBTQ+ themes. Elsewhere the convincing re-elections of Republican governors in Florida and Texas, which have some of the most restrictive laws around education, mean that change is unlikely there in the short term.

For all the furor among the right wing, however, Friedman pointed out it appears it is rare for the vocal pro-censorship people to have read the books themselves. Lists of offending books circulate among rightwing groups, and frequently conservatives will pluck titles and complain to school boards, while those complaints demonstrate a lack of familiarity with the works.