The freedom to read is one of our most precious rights; it is essential to our democracy and it is continuously under attack by individuals, private groups, and public authorities. Their efforts to remove or limit access includes censorship (banning), labeling items as controversial, and distributing lists of "objectionable" titles or authors.
Challenges are more than an opinion or point of view; rather, they are an attempt to restrict access to material from the curriculum or library. Challenges are often motivated by a desire to protect children from content that is perceived to be inappropriate or offensive. The top three reasons for challenges according to ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom:
- the material was considered to be "sexually explicit"
- the material contained "offensive language"
- the materials was "unsuited to any age group"
It is important to understand the difference between challenge and banning:
an attempt to remove or restrict materials
the removal of those materials.
The tireless commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens means that most challenges are unsuccessful.
About Banned & Challenged Books
ALA's Freedom to Read Statement