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Books: Banned and Challenged: Home

Ask Your Librarian

Visit the Information Services desk at the library for friendly face-to-face reference assistance. We can help you locate the resources you need and teach you how to use the research tools at your disposal. 


Phone: (610) 606-4666 ext. 3536

EZproxy

Library databases and full-text articles may be accessed from off campus.

Follow the directions below:

1)  select the resource you want to use

2)  on the “EZproxy” screen

3)  enter your campus network login credentials

If you encounter a problem or need assistance with research questions, contact Information Services at 610-606-4666 (ext: 3536).

Why Do Books Get Banned?

Every year, the American Library Association receives hundreds of challenges to books from across the country. These challenges are usually in response to a book being assigned as part of a school reading list, but sometimes people find the very presence of books in libraries objectionable. It is important to note that not all challenges result in a book being banned. The ALA started observing Banned Book Week in the 1980s, as a way to highlight the challenges received by their office and to promote the idea of intellectual freedom and celebrating the freedom to read.

Books can be banned or challenged for any number of reasons, but the most common complaints are (in no particular order):

  • Inappropriate language
  • Sexually explicit content
  • LGBT+ content
  • Religious viewpoint
  • Political viewpoint
  • Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking
  • Satanic or Occult content
  • Violence
  • Racism or Cultural insensitivity
  • Being otherwise "unsuitable for the age group"

It is the general position of the ALA (and, by extension, most libraries) that banning books or removing them from the shelves would be a form of censorship, and therefore contradictory to the mission of a library.

Subject Guide