Want To Ban A Book? First You Have To Fill Out A Form At The Library

Sep 25, 2017

This is National Banned Books Week. The  annual event shines a spotlight on materials that have been moved from library shelves. Library officials say this week gives them an opportunity call attention to the value of free and open access to information.

That begs a question: What happens if someone has a problem with a book?

“If a patron feels strongly about a book, they fill out a form, “ said Leslie Modrow, director of the Billings Public Library Foundation. “It is reviewed. They research the book, see if any other libraries have had an issue and make a recommendation. Then that research and recommendation is then sent to the library director and to the library board. “

Modrow said they review it and can either accept the library staff’s decision or they override it and make their own.    

Most libraries  give final authority to a designated committee.

The American Library Association said out of the  hundreds of challenges they record nationwide each year, only about 10% of books are removed from the location where the challenge took place.

Modrow said both  libraries and the public benefit from having these  dialogues about a particular book.     

“Why would someone feel that this book should be banned whereas somebody else feels it should be read," Modrow said. “ And having that discussion, that open dialogue, is probably the most important part of the whole banning books situation.”

To get the form to start the process, you will need to visit your local public library. These forms are not currently available online.