OIF Seeks Information on 2020 Censorship Incidents
For Immediate Release
ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom
During the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries and schools continue to face censorship attempts. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom is seeking information on any ban or request to remove library or school materials, displays, and programs that happened in 2020.
OIF urges library workers and educators to report all censorship incidents, even if they don’t need assistance or support to address the challenge. Those with information about bans and challenges that happened anytime this year are encouraged to submit OIF’s online reporting form by December 31, 2020. All personal and institutional information submitted is kept confidential.
The information gathered from these reports helps OIF identify censorship trends, support library workers and compile the Top 10 Most Challenged Books list, published in April during National Library Week. OIF collects information on attempts to remove books, DVDs, online resources and displays. The office also documents attempts to cancel programs and disinvite speakers.
Recently, the office has noticed a rise in attempts to censor books that address racism and police brutality. LGBTQIA+ books and programs also continue to be targeted with censorship.
“Reporting challenges not only provides essential data that allows OIF to identify and track censorship trends,” said OIF Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone, “it also helps OIF to improve support for the library workers and educators who are protecting users' right to access diverse books, displays, and programming.”
Anyone can contact OIF throughout the year when they face a challenge, ban, or access or privacy issue. Staff provide various forms of support, including writing a letter, coaching on media relations and public statements, reviewing policies and researching laws and regulations.
About the Office for Intellectual Freedom
The American Library Association’s 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.