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Researching Banned or Challenged Books: Home

Sources of information about why a particular title has been challenged, with links to lists of challenged or censored titles.

Purpose of the Guide

2016 Banned Books Week banner

 

Student projects researching the reasons why a particular book has been challenged or banned are common writing assignments in both language arts and social studies classes. This page provides a guide to some of the best sources for these assignments.  Some are available print only and may be in the local public library; others are digital resources, also accessible through your local library.

Quick Links

Definitions

Challenge:

An attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.  A banning is the removal of those materials.  Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

Censorship:

A change in the access status of material, based on the content of the work and made by a governing authority or its representatives. Such changes include exclusion, restriction, removal, or age/grade level changes.

Intellectual Freedom

The right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.

Other FAQ

Q: Is Banned Books Week celebrated internationally?

A: "Banned Books Week—Celebrating the Freedom to Read" is based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Thus, it is to a large degree uniquely American.

That said, other countries do fight censorship.  On the broad international level there is the Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE), a committee of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).  Canada has Freedom to Read Week, and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) lead intellectual freedom initiatives in the United Kingdom.

In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Article 19 reads, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

Librarian

Karen Muller
Contact:
ALA Library
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433 x5031