The challenge of challenging books

Dennis Gosnell

Assistant Editor

The challenge of challenging books

Scrappy Doo protects popularly challenged books from being banned.
Photo by Chelsea Ratterman

There are those in the U.S. that would challenge what public libraries and similar institutions put on their shelves.

Librarians and curators meet these challenges and must decide whether to keep or discard certain items from the collection list.

Rose State College selection and challenge policy

Even though the Learning Resources Center on campus has a fancy name, it is still first and foremost a library. One that has resources and information pertaining to the different curriculums students are involved in.

“(a) Selection policy. The primary goal of the Learning Resources Center (LRC) is to support, through its collection of materials and its services, the philosophy and functions of the institution set forth by the Board of Regents of Rose State College. In its selection of materials, the LRC will uphold the principles of the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement.”– Sec. 2-50. Learning Resources Center, RSC Policies and Procedures manual

If students, faculty, or staff have issues with the selections of the materials that the selection committee chooses, they must express either through written form or through verbal complaint the issue they have with the selection.

After a challenge is made, the challenger of the selection must fill out the school’s request for reconsideration form.  This form asks for the challenger’s basic information, the title and author of the selection, if the challenger has read, viewed, and/or listened to the selection in its entirety, and reasons for the challenge.

According to the RSC Policies and Procedures Manual, “(j) Objections to materials. In the event that a member of the student body, faculty, or staff objects to material in the LRC, a form is available to request reconsideration of material. The form, completed and signed, will be reviewed by the Dean of the Learning Resources Center and the staff. All decisions of the LRC Dean or library staff are subject to appeal through normal administrative channels.”

“With this being a college and most students being adults, we don’t get much in the way of complaints or challenges,” Barb Pfrehm, coordinator, Library Audio Visual Services said. “It’s usually public schools that get the most challenges.”

The first week of October is Banned Books Week, where libraries around the country, in association with the American Library Association, will celebrate the freedom to read. Individuals are encouraged to read their favorite banned books and participate in the week’s events.

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