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A good friend is doing some research and asked if I could post the following survey asking how many book challenges and removals your’e aware of at your library: Book Challenges and Removals @ Your Library

How many book challenges and outright removals do you think happen a year that go unreported?  How many at your library?  Is that information even shared with the staff?

From my own experience, I’ve had a removal occur that the director didn’t even bother to share with the manager of the branch in question until I happened to overhear a conversation about it and suggested that the incident should be revealed and explained to all staff in all branches.  I’ve had a director who moved books from adult to teen without telling any of the managers.  I’ve experienced a book removal that was done covertly by a Library Assistant with no involvement from anyone else, because of her own feelings about a particular topic.

I think book challenges and even removals happen a lot more frequently than we’re told.  I think all managers and directors should be 100% transparent about every challenge, move, and removal with the entire staff.  And hopefully this survey will at least tell us how many we do know about, as a starting point.

“Book Challenges and Removals @ Your Library – A Survey”

  1. Tweets that mention Book Challenges and Removals @ Your Library – A Survey | Librarian in Black Blog – Sarah Houghton-Jan -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sarah Houghton-Jan, WPL Reference Div and Matthew Woolums, Library Feed. Library Feed said: Book Challenges and Removals @ Your Library – A Survey […]

  2. Deborah Shepherd Says:

    This incident occured back in the Eighties when, long before I became a librarian, I was the coordinator for child care programs in a public school district.

    We opened a new child care center for children of school district employees. With bare shelves, we accepted donations of books from parents during the first few months, even pretty old books, without really weeding at first.

    One day a parent (who happened to be a school media specialist) found one of the donated books offensive because of the protrayal of the mom in the book. Now it wasn’t that the mom was portrayed in some nefarious activity, or questionable morals, but that the mom was too stereotypical. So the parent TOOK the BOOK out of the classroom and told the child care teacher she had done so!

    When I confronted the parent, I asked her what parents in her school were expected to do if they objected to a book in her collection. Of course, there was a book challenge process in place. Parents were not allowed to just TAKE the BOOK! Apparently she did not think the same kind of courtesy was required of her as a parent.

    I asked for our book back and requested that she make a case for why it did not belong in the classroom. As I recall, she never did.

  3. joe Says:

    It is impossible to know whether the dvd Pootie Tang disappeared from our shelves a few days after it was acquired because of theft or unacknowledged removal. We do have that much theft. The record was so quickly pulled from the entire system that I tend to suspect one of those possibilities more than the other.

  4. Cindy Kilpatrick Says:

    In 12 years I have never had a book challenged. In fact the opposite is more the case. I’m in a K-12 school so of necessity have a separate area for teen-only fiction. Parents of Grade 4 and 5 studens will challenge me to allow their children to borrow books from this area even after the ‘mature’ content is described. I will pop over and do the survey though so the balance remains.

  5. Cindy Kilpatrick Says:

    I now see that the survey is specifically U.S. based, so I won’t skew the results with my Canadian perspective.

  6. terryann Says:

    Hi! Is there any way that this info could be shared, even privately? I’m with the ALA Emerging Leaders group P this year and we are very interested in the results of this survey.

  7. Sarah Says:

    Once everything is tallied, I am sure the person conducting the research will be willing to share.

  8. Cindy Kilpatrick Says:

    The most amazing coincidence just happened. Commenting above, I noted that I have not had a challenge in the 12 years that I have been in this K-12 school. I should have knocked on wood since I have just been instructed by my principal to remove Eric Carle’s Draw Me a Star. A teacher is tired of dealing with the children’s reaction to two nude figures, female and male, that appear on one page of the book. Apparently some parents are reacting to the mass availability of hard and soft porn on the internet by treating all depictions of the human form with censure. This incident has reminded me that a teacher once cut a two inch image of Michelangelo’s ‘David’ from a laminated poster for the same reason.

    I do understand that in a school we need to take care that we are providing books with appropriate messages, but it saddens me deeply that parents and schools cannot impart a healthier attitude with regard to the human body. My belief is that imbuing our natural form with mystery and shame only strengthens the power of pornography.

  9. michael sholinbeck Says:

    about 10 yrs ago when I worked in a branch of a large urban public library, one of the LAs took a bunch of books (all in one series) off the shelf and threw them in the trash. He thought they were trashy books, so that’s that. I retrieved them; the Branch Head had a little chat w/ the LA (who was in library school!). Back on the shelves they went.

  10. Emilia Rosa Says:

    This poll is highly skewed. Anyone can answer it anonymously, therefore, anyone can write anything. This is not a serious poll and I am surprised that adult people would give it a moment’s thought..

  11. OIF & 538 | Agnostic, Maybe Says:

    […] may not be a priority in their life to report the challenge. Back in 2011, Sarah Houghton and I did an internet survey for material challenges. The results closely aligned with OIF’s long time claims that it is an underreported phenomena; […]

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