Report Censorship: 5 Facts to Remember!

By Kristin Pekoll

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” This quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. is relevant to so many aspects of our life personally and professionally.

Today, I’m reminding you of the importance of reporting censorship and to not be silent about one of the core values of our profession; intellectual freedom. By reporting censorship to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) you are equipping us with the information we need to assist library workers with crafting policies and to publish more accurate censorship data in the State of America’s Libraries report (like the Top Ten Challenged Books). More than all that, it allows OIF to support librarians who face censorship challenges.

Here are five facts about censorship:

  1. Anyone can report censorship incidents and challenges to library materials or services. You don’t have to be a librarian.
  2. Reports can be made confidentially and anonymously.
  3. Every report counts in determining the Top Ten Challenged Books for 2018.
  4. You can be an Intellectual Freedom Fighter even if you haven’t experienced a challenge by sharing this message on twitter.
  5. Challenges and bans can range from books, artwork and databases, to speaker disinvitations, book displays and programs.

Article III of the Library Bill of Rights states, “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.” We know materials and services are being banned or cancelled in silence; we’ve found that over 80% of challenges go unreported.

It takes courage to speak out against censorship. We need to bring these situations to light so we can learn from them.

Please take five minutes to report any challenges that your library or institution has encountered in 2018 to the ALA online challenge reporting form before Dec. 31.

For more information, contact Kristin Pekoll, Assistant Director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom.