12 Resources for Navigating Materials Challenges in Your Library

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Maintaining intellectual freedom in the library requires preparedness and persistence. These 12 resources will help you respond with confidence to materials challenges in your library. 

  1. All Access. Walking the Anti-Censorship Walk
    Resource Type: Column
    When a book is challenged that gives us pause, it’s more important than ever to remember that even if we disagree with how the information is presented, our personal beliefs should not matter on this topic.
  1. Technology Connections. Digital Resources to Aid with Book Challenges
    Resource Type: Column
    This column is focused on digital resources that might be useful in the face of book challenges and censorship.
  1. All Access. Framing the Message: Speaking Out against Censorship
    Resource Type: Column
    The attack on intellectual freedom at schools and libraries in the United States has never been so great. The reasons offered for these objections are expanding as well. While many libraries have become used to challenges to materials with LGBTQ+ content or content that challengers determine to be sexually explicit, this new wave of challenges might also include materials on race, racial identity, or even historical accounts that might challenge dominant perspectives. Now is the time to brush up on our library advocacy.
  1. Intellectual Freedom and Privacy
    Resource Type: Courses
    Learn and understand the ethical and legal underpinnings of students’ intellectual freedom and privacy and how these shape your library’s policies and procedures. Watch the video lessons and complete the reflection activities to deepen your understanding of where school libraries fit in with protecting students’ access to information.
  1. All Access. Navigating the Beginnings of a Challenge
    Resource Type: Column
    So a book has been challenged in your library, now what? The first step is to breathe.
  1. Ex Post Facto Self-Censorship: When School Librarians Choose to Censor
    Resource Type: Feature
    My dissertation research revealed that many librarians were choosing to remove materials from their own school library collections. I wasn’t prepared for this, and I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe it.
  1. All Access. New Challenges Are Coming
    Resource Type: Column
    A new theme that is emerging in book challenges goes further than just politics and sexuality. Now, books are being challenged on the very basis that they are diverse.
  1. Research Roundup: Talking about Banned Books
    Resource Type: Feature
    Sue Kimmel and Danielle Hartsfield recently won an AASL Research Award for their research paper on the discourse surrounding challenged books among pre-service educators and librarians.
  1. Can a School Library Be Challenge-Proof?
    Resource Type: Article
    Since no one can predict which books or other resources will be challenged or who will express a concern, a more effective approach than self-censorship during the selection process is to take proactive steps toward creating a climate where the principles of intellectual freedom are understood and the legal right of minors to receive information in the school library is acknowledged.
  1. A School District Responds to a Book Challenge
    Resource Type: Article
    This article explains the response of a school district to a parental attempt to ban a book or label it as unsuitable for middle school students.
  1. Creating Reconsideration Policies that Matter
    Resource Type: Feature
    How do you stand up for every student’s right to read and keep your job? How do you avoid becoming defensive in the face of someone’s questioning your morality and professionalism? There really is only one way to prepare—with policies and procedures that support you in times of crisis, so you don’t have to panic.
  1. The Choices that Count
    Resource Type: Article
    Christine Eldred discusses how to teach your colleagues and administrators about intellectual freedom. Choosing to be informed about intellectual freedom polices and practices is essential to best library practices and Eldred includes three levels of engagement in this article.

Editor’s Note: This list of resources was modified on April 18.

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