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Banned Books & Censorship

Definitions and distinctions

What is the difference between a challenge, banning and censorship?
From the American Library Association's website:

"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 the news


See also:

Common reasons for challenges

See Challenges by reasons, 1990-90, and Challenges by reasons, 2000-09


See also: Challenges by initiator, 1990-99, and Challenges by initiator, 2000-09


See also: Challenges by institution, 1990-99, and Challenges by institution, 2000-09


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BU's own...Howard Zinn

Censoring Howard Zinn: Former Indiana Gov. Tried to Remove "A People's History" from State Schools (from

Censorship or Selection?

...the librarian's dilemma

"...the selector's approach is positive, while that of the censor is negative ...the selector looks for values, for strengths, for virtues which will over shadow minor objections. For the censor, on the other hand, the important thing is to find reasons to reject the book..." 
Asheim, L.  (September 1953).  Not censorship but selection.  Wilson Library Bulletin. (provided online by ALA).


"The librarian's responsibility is to identify interests and make judgments with the entire collection and the entire community in mind, not just that part of it with the largest constituency or the loudest voices or the most intimidating threats."
 Asheim, L.  (September 1953) Selection and Censorship: A Reappraisal.(provided online by ALA)