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Banned and Challenged Books: What Can You Do?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” - The Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution, 1791

You Can...

Read As Broadly And Diversely As Possible

The more you read, the more knowledgeable and influential of an advocate you'll become

Stay Informed

Know what is happening in your state legislature, local school and library boards, and city councils

Attend your local school and library board meetings

Speak Out

Write letters expressing your view to your school board or your library

Write to your mayor, your state or federal representatives, and your senators

Sign a petition like this one or this one

Fill out the Office for Intellectual Freedom's Challenge Reporting Form


Work with fellow concerned students/citizens

This is a group in Florida: Florida Freedom to Read Project

This is an article about organizing anti-censorship groups


Steps of the Reconsideration Process

1.) File a formal challenge

This can be through filling out a "Request for Reconsideration" form, writing a letter to the organization or entering a plea at a public meeting (ex - school board meetings)

2.) Report the challenge to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

Provides assistance with gathering materials in support of a request

Allows the American Library Association to track challenges

Your name and other personal information will remain confidential unless you provide explicit permission saying otherwise

3.) Establish a review committee

This committee will reach a conclusion

Retain - keep as is

Reclassify - move to a new location

Restrict -  placed in a special collection or requires permission to access

Replace - update to a more current title

Remove - withdraw from the collection

4.) Accept or reject the recommendation

5.) Appeal the decision

Decisions can be appealed by either side

Decisions from a school or library board are often final unless challenged in court

Source : LaRue, J. (2018). Intellectual freedom. In S. Hirsh (Ed.), Information services today: An introduction (pp. 434-449). Rowan & Littlefield.