Sometimes we see headlines in the news about a book being challenged at a library. People from different perspectives might see the content of the book or other aspects of it as threatening or inappropriate. Understanding these challenges and forming responses is essential to our work as librarians in advocating and supporting intellectual freedom. Now, the work to track this information will receive more coordinated support. Both the Canadian Federation of Library Associations and the Centre for Free Expression announced that they would work together to maintain a joint library challenges database.
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations / La Fédération canadienne des associations de bibliothèques (CFLA-FCAB) has long maintained a database tracking information about the challenges presented to Canadian libraries regarding the books or other resources held. You can access the reports and data from this webpage. Likewise, the Centre for Free Expression (within the Toronto Metropolitan University) recognizes this important work among other aspects of its research on free expression. The CFE maintains a similar database accessible from this page. This is great news for tracking and understanding these challenges in the Canadian context.
Librarians listen to their community’s perspectives, contend with difficult decisions regarding what to collect, and ensure that people have access to information. It’s valuable that we share information about challenges that we receive so that we can promote and build greater understanding about intellectual freedom.