Banned Books Week and Continuing Education

How does your library educate staff about book banning?

According to an article by Susan L. Webb, “Book banning, a form of censorship, occurs when private individuals, government officials, or organizations remove books from libraries, school reading lists, or bookstore shelves because they object to their content, ideas, or themes. Those advocating a ban complain typically that the book in question contains graphic violence, expresses disrespect for parents and family, is sexually explicit, exalts evil, lacks literary merit, is unsuitable for a particular age group, or includes offensive language.”

Banned Books Week is right around the corner and it got me thinking, how do libraries handle the staff development side of this challenging topic? I always notice many libraries post images of their Banned Books Week displays, but I don’t really recall much being done to educate staff about all the nuances surrounding book challenges and library policies regarding it.

Many libraries and statewide library organizations do a great job of offering continuing education opportunities on a wide variety of topics; however, it seems to me that there are not many training sessions that are centered around book challenges and book banning – but maybe that’s changing.

Please let me know in the comments what kinds of training your library offers for staff about book banning and book challenges or what kinds of training you think your library should provide staff on this topic. Oh, and also feel free to share your banned books week display photos too!

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