‘Share Your Censorship Story’: OIF encourages library workers to report 2019 challenges, bans

For Immediate Release
Wed, 11/20/2019


Ellie Diaz

Program Officer

Office for Intellectual Freedom

American Library Association


The Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) encourages library workers to report censorship incidents and challenges to library or school materials and services that occurred in 2019 using an online form by December 31, 2019. Every submitted report provides crucial information that helps the office raise awareness and respond to censorship threats by creating resources for libraries.

OIF is seeking information on challenges and removals of books, online resources, displays and DVDs. It is also seeking information on canceled or challenged programs, and the vandalizing of library materials. All personal and institutional information submitted through the online form is kept confidential.

“People often ask where the line is between a complaint about a resource and a formal challenge,” said OIF Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll. “OIF encourages the reporting of any situation where access to a resource or information is denied or debated. Sometimes a library’s policy is followed and many times it is not, especially if it’s an internal request to limit or remove access.”

The information gathered from these reports helps OIF identify censorship trends, support library workers with imperative tools, and compile the Top 10 Most Challenged Books list. OIF urges library workers and educators to report these incidents, even if they don’t need resources or support from the office.

The “Share Your Censorship Story” webpage is stocked with publicizing tools that anyone can use to raise awareness about reporting censorship incidents. The webpage includes graphics, an email template to share with e-lists and sample social media posts.

Since the beginning of the initiative on Nov. 1, the office has received 18 online reports. This number will continue to be updated on the Share Your Censorship Story webpage.

Anyone can contact OIF throughout the year when they face a challenge, ban, or access or privacy issue. Staff provide various forms of support depending on the person’s needs, including writing a letter, coaching on media relations and public statements, reviewing policies and researching laws/regulations.


About the Office for Intellectual Freedom

The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. Established in 1967, the office provides guidance, information, and resources on a range of intellectual freedom subjects related to libraries and provides confidential support to anyone undergoing a material or service challenge.