Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
Does your school library have books on the shelves that have been challenged?
This year the American Library Association’s Top Ten list includes:The Absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie; The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins; and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight.
The balancing of selection vs censorship always involves value judgements, but also policy decisions. Having an up-to-date Collection Development Policy will equip you with a good framework for selection and help you to deal with any challenges you might get.
A key principle as outlined by the ALA is every reader’s right to choose or reject a book for themselves (or their families, in public libraries) while those objecting to a particular book not be given the power to restrict other readers’ right to access and read that book.
Barbara Jones, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom says: “As members of a pluralistic and complex society, we must have free access to a diverse range of viewpoints on the human condition in order to foster critical thinking and understanding. We must protect one of the most precious of our fundamental rights – the freedom to read.”
The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) received 348 reports on attempts during 2010 to have particular titles restricted, or removed from library shelves. The ALA defines a challenge as: “a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.”
The OIF estimates that for every challenge received, there are four or five more that go unreported.
The ALA’s Top Ten list is here.
And here’s the CBC news item on the new list.
If someone objects to a title in your library, we recommend you ask them to complete the Application for reconsideration of a school library resource form.
In our example of a Guiding Statement for developing your school library collection we provide some strategies for dealing with challenges.
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