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Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association

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The Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association
Updated: 1 hour 6 min ago

Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants tops the most frequently challenged books list for the second year in a row

Mon, 04/14/2014 - 4:06pm

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom released the top ten most frequently challenged books list of 2013 as part of the State of America’s Libraries Report on Monday, April 15. Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series ranked #1 for the second year in a row. The series had been challenged for “offensive language,” “unsuited to age group,” and “violence” and had also appeared on the Top Ten lists in 2002, 2004, 2005.

New to this year’s list are The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison; The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins;  A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone; The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky; Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya, and Bone by Jeff Smith.

Out of 307 challenges as reported by the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom:

1)      Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey

Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence

2)      The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

3)      The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

4)      Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James

Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

5)      The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

6)      A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit

7)      Looking for Alaska, by John Green

Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

8)      The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

9)      Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya

Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

10)  Bone (series), by Jeff Smith

Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Categories: Book News

Remembering Judith

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 1:56pm

Five years ago today, Judith Krug passed away. To honor her memory, the Freedom to Read Foundation blog will host a series of remembrances about her life and legacy.  If you would like to add a memory, please feel free to email or post a note in the blog’s comments.

Click here to read the first in the series, by OIF Director and FTRF Executive Director Barbara M. Jones.

Categories: Book News

“404 Day” next Friday: EFF sponsoring teach-in on internet filtering in libraries

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 1:18pm

Via Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), next Friday is April 4, aka 4/04, or 404. On that day, the EFF is sponsoring a “digital teach-in” about internet filtering in libraries and the Children’s Internet Protection Act.  OIF Deputy Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone will join Sarah Houghton (San Rafael Public Library/Librarian in Black blog) and Chris Peterson (MIT’s Center for Civic Media) in a discussion of the issues and how to encourage change.  EFF’s April Glaser will moderate.

EFF also is encouraging librarians and bloggers to share stories and their thoughts in order to raise awareness about how access to information is being infringed by internet filters.

404 Day: A Day of Action Against Censorship in Libraries
Friday, April 4, 2014
12:00–1:00 p.m. Pacific/3:00–4:00 p.m. Eastern

Read more:

Categories: Book News

FTRF Krug Fund Banned Books Week event grant applications now open

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 3:56pm

Cross-posted on Freedom to Read Foundation Blog

Applications for Banned Books Week 2014 event grants via the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund are now open.  Applications will be accepted through April 30.Click here to apply:  Here are the application guidelines:

Krug Fund Banned Books Week event grant application guidelines

1. Event outline should be a total of no more than 4 pages, whether the application is for a $1000 grant only or for either a $1000 or $2500 grant. The outline should include the following:

a. A detailed timeline incorporating both planning stages and the event itself.

b. Plans for documenting the event(s), including tracking attendance or other metrics, and capturing photos and recording video of the event(s).

c. A detailed budget including other sources of funding.

2. Only not-for-profit organizations may apply. They need not have official 501(c)3 status.

3. Beginning in 2013, organizations can be awarded only two grants, in non-consecutive years, within a six-year period. (Thus, organizations that received grants in 2013 are ineligible to apply in 2014.)

4. Krug Fund grants cannot be used to buy computer hardware.

5. Applications can be single projects or they can encompass multiple activities. Similarly, projects can take place in one day or an entire week (or longer).

6. The Freedom to Read Foundation reserves the right to give grants of amounts other than $1000 or $2500.

7. Applications will be judged, in part, on the following criteria:

a. Originality/creativity

b. Project’s appeal to a broad/diverse audience

c. Clear plans for promoting the project, including to local media

d. Integration of social media

e. Collaboration with other organizations

f. Is the application specific about how a Krug Fund grant would be spent?

g. Is the project duplicable for other organizations in the future?

h. To what extent will the funded project promote the ideals and mission of the Freedom to Read Foundation and of Banned Books Week? How will it raise awareness of intellectual freedom and censorship issues?

For more information about Banned Books Week, visit To see reports from past years’ recipients, click here.

Learn more about the Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund.

Categories: Book News

‘Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your Public Library’ receives the 2014 Eli M. Oboler Award

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 11:31am


Eli M Oboler

The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) announces that “Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your Public Library: Scenarios from the Front Lines” by June Pinnell-Stephens is the recipient of the 2014 Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award.

The award will be presented to Pinnell-Stephens at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas at the IFRT reception on Saturday, June 28 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award Committee was honored to choose this slim but powerful title for its practical relevance as a guide. “Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your Public Library Scenarios from the Front Lines” not only details step by step how to combat the censors, but also outlines in clear language  how and why intellectual freedom is a singularly important matter facing all 21st century libraries. Citing U.S. court cases for protection of intellectual freedom rights in libraries, Pinnell-Stephens clearly defines and answers questions critically important to librarians, as well as providing sample forms and policy documents that can be utilized.

The Eli M. Oboler Memorial Award, which consists of $500 and a certificate, is presented for the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom.  The award was named for Eli M. Oboler, the extensively published Idaho State University librarian known as a “champion of intellectual freedom who demanded the dismantling of all barriers to freedom of expression.” The award has been offered biennially since 1986.

Categories: Book News

FTRF Conable Conference Scholarship applications open

Thu, 02/13/2014 - 5:35pm

From the Freedom to Read Foundation - 

The Freedom to Read Foundation  has opened applications for the 2014 Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship, which will enable a library school student or new professional to attend ALA’s 2014 Annual Conference, held June 26-July 1 in Las Vegas, Nev.

The goal of the Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship is to advance two principles that Conable held dear: intellectual freedom and mentorship.

The scholarship provides for conference registration, transportation, housing for six nights and six days per diem. In return, the recipient will be expected to attend various FTRF and other intellectual freedom meetings and events at the conference, consult with a mentor/board member and present a report about their experiences. The recipient also will receive a one-year FTRF membership and will be invited, although not required, to provide daily updates about his or her experience on the Freedom to Read Foundation blog.

The deadline for submitting an application for the 2014 Conable Scholarship is Friday, April 11; the award will be announced in late April.

Who is eligible: Students currently enrolled in an ALA-accredited library and information studies degree program or an AASL-recognized master’s program in school librarianship and new professionals (those who are three or fewer years removed from receiving a library school degree) are eligible to receive the Conable Scholarship. Those interested must submit an application that includes two references and an essay detailing their interest in intellectual freedom issues. Applicants also are required to attach a résumé. If the recipient is already registered for ALA’s Annual Conference, he or she will have the conference fee refunded.

To apply for the Conable Conference Scholarship, visit For more information, please contact Jonathan Kelley at (800) 545-2433, ext. 4226 or

Categories: Book News

Call for 2013 Challenges

Tue, 02/11/2014 - 3:23pm

OIF is working to finalize our numbers for 2013 challenges and our annual list of most frequently challenged books. We collect information for our challenge database from both media reports and those submitted by individuals and, while we know that many challenges are never reported, we strive to be as comprehensive as possible.

We would greatly appreciate if you could send us any information on challenges in your state or region that you are aware of from 2013. The final deadline for reporting 2013 challenges to OIF is Friday, February 28, 2014.

Challenges reported to ALA by individuals are kept confidential and we can cross-check your report with existing entries in the database to avoid duplications. You may report challenges by filling out and submitting the database form available in a variety of formats at If you have any questions at all, please contact

Many thanks for all of your help and support!

Categories: Book News

Feb. 11 is “Day of Action” for privacy reforms

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 3:24pm

A heads up via the ALA Washington Office’s District Dispatch blog:

On Tuesday, February 11th, library supporters are asked to mount a major action to urge Congress to pass major reforms to our surveillance laws. As part of The Day We Fight Back, thousands of websites will host banners urging people to call Congress to stop mass surveillance. You can use ALA’s legislative action center and library text alerts to call in to members of your congressional delegation to urge them to vote for reforms such as those in the USA FREEDOM Act (S.1599 and H.R.3361) and other reform proposals.

Tuesday ALA will send out a blast email to ALA members with instructions and a basic message to help you contact your senators and representatives. Please push other friends and colleagues to do the same. We want to flood the Congressional switchboards.

ALA is making this effort because of the library community’s long standing commitment to privacy, starting with the protection of patron library records. Grassroots support from ALA has meant a lot to the reform attempts since passage of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001. Now with public knowledge about the extensive surveillance of telephone records and other revelations, there is an opportunity get some real reforms to the surveillance system. That is why we need our library voices to express the need for ending mass surveillance, bring due process to the FISA court process and rationality to the collection and retention of data about millions of people. This is Day of Action is done in collaboration with EFF, ACLU, Amnesty International, and more.

Please be ready to help protect privacy February 11th.


Categories: Book News
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