Banned Books

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WE BELIEVE IN AN EDUCATED CITIZENRY

If there’s one thing that the ACLU is known for, it’s free speech.

We believe in a society where ideas are openly disseminated, discussed, and debated. We believe in the right to access information, and the right to make up your own mind.

We believe in an educated citizenry – that our country functions best when citizens exercise their right to read, learn, and explore the world around them. We believe that the right to disagree is fundamental to our democracy.

The ACLU of Texas Banned Books Project exists:

  • To raise awareness about book challenges and the banning of books in public school libraries across the state;
  • To encourage school officials to use professional librarian standards when confronted with a challenge, and;
  • To encourage ACLU affiliates, library associations, and public interest groups to conduct surveys in their states.

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ACLU of Texas Banned Books Reports (in PDF format)

That’s why, for the last 17 years, the ACLU of Texas has celebrated Banned Books Week every September around the start of the school year and has released a report on the state of censorship in our public schools.

Each year, we contact every school district in Texas to:

  • Find out which books have been banned or restricted;
  • Figure out why books are taken off the shelves;
  • Ensure the process of limiting access to materials is fair; and
  • Bring banned books back into circulation.

Every year, we send out requests to every school district and most charter schools in Texas. We ask for basic information on whether books have been banned or restricted, and what mechanisms schools use before pulling a book from their library shelves or school curriculum. Roughly 75 percent responded to our survey.

You can read more about our results in this year’s report. We do this – year in, year out – so we can monitor what’s going on with censorship in our communities. If we note a trend towards censorship or a tendency to remove books without a review process, we try to engage the school in a dialogue and let community members know what’s going on.

We don’t believe that one parent should have the right to dictate what’s accessible to the entire student body. We believe children’s interest in reading should be encouraged, and the pro’s and con’s regarding banning of a book deserve careful consideration.

Of all the things that can harm us, or our children, we simply don’t believe books are one of them.

Find out some of the books that have been banned in Texas.
Our Favorite Banned Books »

Attend a read-in to express your support for un-banning books.
Hold a Read-in »

Contact us if you believe censorship is a major problem in your community.
Contact us »

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Tips for Librarians

The Texas Library Association believes that the freedom to read is a corollary of the First Amendment’s guarantees of a free press. It helps protect this right by responding to librarians facing book challenges, offering model policies and procedures, tracking reports of book challenges, and supporting policies that preserve and protect access to information.

If you are a librarian under pressure to censor reading materials, remove books from your shelves, or exclude certain resources from your collection, contact them from assistance. See their tips for librarians facing a challenge »

They are available at: www.txla.org or (512) 328-1518.

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