The American Library Association
The American Library Association is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members....
(ALA) defines a challenge
to literature as an attempt by a person or group of people to have materials, such as books, removed from a library or school curriculum, or otherwise restricted. Merely objecting to material is not a challenge without the attempt to remove or restrict access to those materials. The ALA defines a challenge thus:
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.
According to the ALA, a successful challenge would result in a banning and removal of those materials, a form of censorship
thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...
. However, the ALA agrees that materials may be removed from libraries in appropriate circumstances and Island Trees School District v. Pico
Board of Education v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 , was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment limits the power of local school boards to remove library books from junior high schools and high schools.-Facts:...
suggested that books that are pervasively vulgar may be removed legally.
Challenges in the U.S. and Canada—tracked by the Canadian Library Association's Advisory Committee on Intellectual Freedom, and the Book and Periodical Council's Freedom of Expression Committee—are often brought by parents wishing to protect their children from content that they deem to be inappropriate or offensive. The ALA suggest that, while parents and guardians should have the right to determine their children's access to library resources, that right applies only to their children and no library policy, such as restrictive scheduling or usage policies, should deny children access to library resources.
The differences between challenging a book and banning were discussed by a columnist for American Decency
The American Decency Association is a non-profit organization associated with the Christian right based in Fremont, Michigan. Its principal cause is against pornography and "indecent" media. The ADA was founded in 1999 by former elementary school teacher, Bill Johnson, the first-named state...
who raised concerns that "efforts by parents to become involved in their children's education by raising questions concerning age-appropriate material" was being referred to as banning. Similarly, former ALA Councilor Jessamyn West
Jessamyn Charity West is an American librarian and blogger, best known as the creator of librarian.net and for her unconventional views of her profession...
said, "the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all."
The ALA believes that it is important to monitor challenges made to books as well as actual bannings since a challenge may lead to self-censorship
Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one's own work , out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities of others, without overt pressure from any specific party or institution of authority...
by those seeking to avoid controversy.
- Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign that celebrates the freedom to read, draws attention to banned and challenged books, and highlights persecuted individuals...
- List of most commonly challenged books in the U.S.
- Public Library Advocacy
Public library advocacy is support given to a public library for its financial and philosophical goals or needs. Most often this takes the form of monetary or material donations or campaigning to the institutions which oversee the library...
- http://www.worldmag.com/articles/14497 and http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/22/business/22bratz.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=Scholastic%20&st=cse&oref=slogin