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Banned Books Week

Important Concepts to Know

Intellectual freedom is a basic human right that every person has to seek out and receive information from all points of view no matter how popular that point of view is or not. Intellectual freedom is important in order to allow people to educate themselves and become self-informed.

"Intellectual freedom can exist only where two essential conditions are met: first, that all individuals have the right to hold any belief on any subject and to convey their ideas in any form they deem appropriate, and second, that society makes an equal commitment to the right of unrestricted access to information and ideas regardless of the communication medium used, the content of work, and the viewpoints of both the author and the receiver of information." - Intellectual Freedom Manual, 7th edition

intellectual freedom definition

Censorship occurs when someone objects to an idea or information in materials such as a book, and then access to that material is prohibited.

censorship definition

"Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections." - Freedom to Read, Intellectual Freedom Manual, 8th edition

Bookmark this page! Thousands of library books face censorship, so new book résumés are added on a regular basis.

Book Résumés help teachers, librarians, parents, and community members defend books from censorship. They detail each title’s significance and educational value and are easy to share with administrators, book review committees, elected officials, and board members.

Each book résumé contains a synopsis, reviews, awards, accolades, and links to resources and relevant media. These are the types of resources that professionally-trained librarians and educators use when they select books. A book résumé may also include information about how the title has been successfully retained in schools and public libraries where it has been challenged.

Unite Against Book Bans partners with the publishing community to create and maintain book résumés of frequently challenged and censored books.

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

From the American Library Association