AASL releases guide addressing challenges related to censorship and LGBTQ+ materials

For Immediate Release
Thu, 07/19/2018


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians



CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has released a new resource guide to support school librarians addressing challenges related to censorship and patron privacy issues, particularly with LGBTQ+ materials. “Defending Intellectual Freedom: LGBTQ+ Materials in School Libraries” contains resources, links, and activities scaffolded by the newly released AASL “National School Library Standards.” The guide, along with supporting materials, can be downloaded at standards.aasl.org/project/lgbtq.

Using the AASL Standards as a framework, the guide encapsulates how school librarians can protect themselves and the LGBTQ+ materials in their collections from challenges. School librarians will find valuable resources and links as expected in a traditional toolkit. In addition, the guide includes activities in each section that will help school librarians engage in their own inquiry process as they explore their own biases and discover practices for developing and defending their collections. Accompanying the document is an infographic highlighting the resources, inspiration, statistics, and ideas contained in the guide; and a framework application allowing users to navigate more quickly based on their own specific questions and needs.

“School Libraries accomplish many things in today’s school communities, but I truly think our most important work is what we do to ensure equity and access for all,” said AASL Past President Steven Yates. “This resource guide does a phenomenal job of demonstrating the beauty of Include, my favorite Shared Foundation of the new AASL Standards. Furthermore, this guide is an excellent model for how the AASL Standards can be used as a lens for problem-solving any issue.”

Noting that four of the titles on the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2015 dealt with LGBTQ+ issues, members of AASL’s Affiliate Assembly requested AASL take action to clarify and publicize resources and procedures for addressing challenges related to censorship and patron privacy issues. The task was assigned to the 2018 ALA Emerging Leaders team consisting of Kaitlin Frick, Katie Martin, Angela Ocana, Juan Rivera, Allie Stevens, Julie Stivers, and AASL member guide Rachel Altobelli. The team presented the guide, infographic, and applied framework during the 2018 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.