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Banned and Challenged Books: Home

Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association

Censorship thrives in silence; silence is its aim

Much of the information on this page is from the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. For more information see their website


What is a challenged book?

Challenges attempt to remove or restrict materials.

Why is this important?

As Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., in Texas v. Johnson , said most eloquently:

If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

If we are to continue to protect our First Amendment, we would do well to keep in mind these words of Noam Chomsky:

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.

Or these words of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas (" The One Un-American Act." Nieman Reports , vol. 7, no. 1, Jan. 1953, p. 20):

Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.

What is a banned book?

A ban is the removal of materials.

Who challenges books?

Parents are the most frequent people who challenge books.

Types of Censorship