Challenge Reporting


Report CensorshipSince 1990, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom has maintained a database on challenged materials. ALA collects information from two sources: media reports and reports submitted by individuals. Reports of challenges culled from media across the country are compiled in the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy; (subscriptions to JIFP include access to the archives of the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedomthose reports are then compiled in the resource guide, Banned Books: Defending Our Freedom to Read

All personal and institutional information submitted via this form is kept confidential. For material challenges, book titles and reasons may be disclosed upon inquiry.  If you have questions or would like to report the challenge over the phone, don't hesitate to call 1-800-545-2433 x4226 or email

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1. What are you reporting? * In order to gather useful information for statistical purposes we need to know what you are reporting.

If the previous response is “Materials Challenge”

If this report needs to include multiple items, you can include them on a supplement form linked below.

2. Please describe the incident. * In your own words please tell us more about what happened.

3. When did this happen? * When did the challenge occur? That is, did it happen some time ago, or recently? Exact dates are helpful, but we’ll take more casual information.  

4. Who initiated the challenge or raised the issue? * What can you tell us about who actually made the challenge? Was this someone complaining about something on his or her own behalf (a “patron” in our terms), a parent (concerning something that affects his or her child), a teacher, a librarian, a school or library administrator, an elected official, a member of the clergy, or someone else? Was it, do you believe, an individual complaint, or part of a larger and organized group effort?

5. Why did the initiator say this was of concern? * What language did the initiators use to express what bothered them? What we’re after here is the issue: it could be a concern about the language, about sexual references (explicitness, GLBT issues, etc.), about political or religious viewpoint.

Where did this happen? We attempt to analyze our data in a variety of ways. Ideally, we know the name of the specific institution where the incident occurred, the type of library (public library, school library, academic library), or other institution (a school curriculum issue, a bookstore, a movie house, museum etc.), and the state where it occurred.

9. May ALA have your permission to disclose additional information in our public reports? * Additional information may include when the challenge or issue took place, the type of institution, or the resolution of the issue.

10. How can we help you? The Office for Intellectual Freedom provides various kinds of support for people dealing with these challenges. That might just be talking with you on the phone to help you sort through the options. We often research federal, state, and local laws and regulations. We can help coach you on working with media or public events. We provide policy and procedure analysis and recommendations. We can write letters and make public statements. Please tell us how we can best serve your needs.

How can we reach you? You are under no obligation to give us this information. But sometimes we need a little more information to understand what happened. Again, we will not reveal your name or information unless you give us express permission. But if you would like us to contact you for more support, or if you are willing to speak confidentially to us further to acquire more details, please provide the following:

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If you would like to report multiple challenges, have questions or would like to report the challenge over the phone, don't hesitate to call 1-800-545-2433 x4226 or email