Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What's The Difference?

At the Pelham Public Library, where I work, the question often comes up about the difference between a "banned" and "challenged" book.

According to the American Library Assocation, "A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others."

In Canada, I believe we face many challenges, usually within the context of educational materials. Outright banning of materials is rare but I have heard of adult materials being stopped at the border.

Most pubic libraries in Canada will not restrict materials based on the objections of one person or a group. It should also be noted that libraries provide an InterLibrary Loan system, so even if they choose not to purchase a particular book for whatever reason, patrons can order the book from another library.

What book challenges have you heard about in your area? Have you heard of any outright ban?

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