I don’t know about you, but I love challenges to library materials. Challenges provide an opportunity for librarians to step back and evaluate not only the item that has been challenged, but also our philosophy, policies, and procedures.
While book challenges don’t happen every day, they are certainly something that libraries are prepared to handle. All you need is a diverse collection, fully trained staff, and a solid selection and reconsideration policy in place and you are ready for anything.
Last year, we observed that we were getting more challenges for displays and events than we were for library materials. With no official procedure in place for handling these challenges, we were inconsistent as the process really depended on who spoke with the customer. Since our staff put as much care into selecting displays, exhibits, and programs, we needed a way to approach these challenges with the same thoughtfulness that we would a book challenge.
After research and discussion, we updated our “Request for Reconsideration” form to include displays, exhibits, programs, and even a category for “Other”. This updated form works for any situation and ensures that we handle all challenges fairly.
While we are talking about challenges, here are a few resources:
Banned Books Week is September 22-28, 2019.
Need help with your selection and reconsideration policy? Check out the Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Toolkit.
ALA maintains a database of challenges, so be sure to submit your challenge here. Don’t worry, all personal and institutional information is confidential.