Book censorship in the United States  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In American literature, a challenge is defined by the American Library Association (ALA) as an attempt by a person or group of people to have materials such as books removed from a library or from a school curriculum or otherwise restricted. Merely objecting to material is not a challenge without the attempt to remove or restrict access to those materials.

According to the ALA, a successful challenge would result in a banning and removal of those materials, a form of censorship. However, the ALA agrees that materials may be removed from libraries in appropriate circumstances and Island Trees School District v. Pico suggested that books that are pervasively vulgar may be removed legally.

Challenges are often brought by parents wishing to protect their children from content that they deem to be inappropriate or offensive. The ALA suggest that, while parents and guardians should have the right to determine their children's access to library resources, that right applies only to their children and no library policy, such as restrictive scheduling or usage policies, should deny children access to library resources.

The differences between challenging a book and banning were discussed by a columnist for American Decency who raised concerns that "efforts by parents to become involved in their children's education by raising questions concerning age-appropriate material" was being referred to as banning. Similarly, former ALA Councilor Jessamyn West said, "the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all."

The ALA believes that it is important to monitor challenges made to books as well as actual bannings since a challenge may lead to self-censorship by those seeking to avoid controversy.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Book censorship in the United States" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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