Challenges to Library Material
Definitions to clarify terminology
In 1986, in response to inquiries from librarians facing book or material challenges for the first time, the Intellectual Freedom Committee developed a list of definitions to clarify terminology associated with challenges.
As with any public service, libraries receive complaints and expressions of concern. One of the librarian's responsibilities is to handle these complaints in a respectful and fair manner. The complaints that librarians often worry about most are those dealing with library resources or free access policies. The key to successfully handling these complaints is to be sure the library staff and the governing authorities are all knowledgeable about the complaint procedures and their implementation.
Support for dealing with Challenges
Most challenges to library materials and services come from well-meaning individuals, often parents, who find something offensive or objectionable in their local school library. Although such challenges can be difficult and stressful, library staff can rely on their library’s selection and review policies to respond to the complaint. In these cases, essential preparations the library has taken before the challenge will greatly increase the likelihood of retaining the materials or protecting library services.