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Banned Books Week

What is the Difference between Challenged and Banned?

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. 

A banning is the removal of those materials.

Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information.

Most commom reasons why books have been challenged or banned:

  • Offensive language
  • Sexually explicit
  • Homosexuality
  • Violence
  • Religious viewpoint
  • Racial issues
  • Drugs
  • Nudity
  • Political bias
  • Presence of witchcraft

"Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (ALA's basic policy concerning access to information) states that, “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment." (American Library Association).

Does ALA ban books?

No. The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country. The ALA compiles lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information. For more information on ALA's efforts to raise awareness of censorship and promote the freedom to read, please explore Banned Books Week.

Sandwich Seminar @ Old Main 9/23/2014

Organizations for the Freedom of Speech & Freedom to Read

Displays @ Memorial Library

"Graphic Novels Display" in Teaching Materials Center


"Wilhelm Reich Display" in Library Lobby


"Dare to look" Banned Books in Library Lobby