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Freedom to Read: About Bans

It's Not Just Books: Film Censorship

About "Prohibited" and "Censored" Materials

Catalog searches -- suggested SUBJECT headings:  prohibited books, censorship

Books about Banned Books .

Censorship by the Numbers

Books and Beyond chart

Reasons for Censorship

Censorship is suppression of speech or other communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body (Censorship in America)

The rationale for censorship is different for various types of information censored:

  • Moral censorship is the removal of materials that are deemed obscene or otherwise considered morally questionable. Pornography, for example, is often censored under this rationale, especially child pornography, which is illegal and censored in many pars of the world.
  • Military censorship is the process of keeping military intelligence and tactics confidential and away form the enemy. This is used to counter espionage, which is the process of gleaning military information. Very often, militaries will also attempt to suppress politically inconvenient information, even if that information has no actual intelligence or combat tactical value.
  • Political censorship occurs when governments hold back information from their citizens. This is often done to exert control over the populace and prevent free expression that might foment rebellion.
  • Religious censorship is the means by which any material considered objectionable by a certain faith is removed This often involves a dominant religion forcing limitations on less  prevalent ones. Alternatively, one religion my shun the works of another when they believe the content is not appropriate for their faith.
  • Corporate censorship is the process by which editors in corporate media outlets intervene to disrupt the publishing of information that portrays their business or business partners in a negative light, or intervene to prevent alternate offers from reaching public exposure.

--Censorship in America

ALA Statement on Censorship of Information Addressing Racial Injustice, Black American History, and Diversity Education

On August 18, 2021, the American Library Association Executive Board issued a statement opposing initiatives to censor information resources, curricula, and programs addressing racial injustice, Black American history, and diversity education.

Libraries' Mission to Protect Intellectual Freedom

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association created the "Library Bill of Rights" to mark its stance on the censorship of library materials. The following basic policies have been established to guide libraries in their services:

I. Library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all  people the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

ii. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of fee expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

VII. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views possess the right to privacy and confidentiality i their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people's privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

Adopted June 19, 1939 by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1941; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; January 29, 2019..

Inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January, 1996.

Library Bill of Rights 

"Library Bill of Rights", American Library Association, June 30, 2006. (Accessed June 29, 2022)

Document ID: 669fd6a3-8939-3e54-7577-996a0a3f8952