Resources for Book Challenges

Resources for Book Challenges


Here you will find a compiled list of resources from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) to assist teachers, students, parents, and community members in responding to book challenges in their communities. This list is updated periodically with new information as available.

Position Statements

Click below to view position statements from MCTE and NCTE on academic freedom and students’ rights to read. These position statements may be printed, copied, and disseminated without permission from NCTE or MCTE.

The Freedom to Read in Michigan (MAME, MCTE, and MRA)
A Joint Statement Prepared by Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) Michigan Reading Association (MRA)

May 14, 2022

View as a PDF

The Freedom to Read in Michigan 

A Joint Statement Prepared by 

Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) 

Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) 

Michigan Reading Association (MRA) 


“The freedom to read is essential to our democracy.” (ALA, “The Freedom to Read Statement,” 2004). 

While there are always a number of overlapping concerns related to books in our schools — including adequate school funding to purchase materials, as well as to provide certified library staff that support inclusive collections — as three professional organizations committed to literacy and learning, we focus our shared attention at this moment on this matter of concern: the Freedom to Read in Michigan. 

We are inspired by and indebted to the American Library Association’s 2004 statement, “The Freedom to Read,” which was first written in 1953 and revised over decades to represent the social, political, and cultural contexts in which book challenges — that sometimes lead to book bans and, through the bans, censorship — is as relevant now as ever. As the ALA affirms, “Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms,” and we must continue to assert our rights and protect that freedom. 

Book challenges and bans are not new, though the reasons for various stakeholders to push for challenges and bans take on new forms over time. In the past, for instance, “obscenity” was a common cause for challenging a book; today we see how those who wish to ban books still fear “obscenity,” and also fear that their own children may feel “guilt” or “shame” about themselves. No matter the reason, these challenges persist, and need to be addressed in a direct, clear, and swift manner. 

To that end, as we consider the diverse nature of our state’s citizens and needs of various K-12 school communities, we outline interrelated elements including the principles and the stakeholders that are connected to The Freedom to Read in Michigan, noting the crucial role of each. 


As literacy educators, we commit to the following principles in our own statement on the freedom to read. 


We support diverse library collections that affirm the identities and lives of children and youth. The United States is a patch-work quilt of colors, ethnicities, traditions, and beliefs. So, too, are the children who enter our schools. As argued by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, we want children to see themselves, and the greater world, in our library collections through metaphorical “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors” (1990). The mirrors reflect their own experiences, windows offer a view of the world beyond their own experiences, and sliding glass doors invite them to step into new worlds to build empathy and understanding of multiple perspectives. To that end, we encourage all stakeholders to explore and embrace diverse and inclusive books. 


We believe that literacy is essential to success in life, both inside and outside the classroom. Literacy success is strongly correlated with not just academic success, but also college and career access and success, health outcomes, life expectancy, and even incarceration rates. In addition to high-quality instruction, robust library collections that include up-to-date, curated print and digital materials support this success. Children who find books that they like and which resonate with their identities and experiences will, indeed, read; the ideal place to find books to support curricular and personal interests is in a school library. Reading is the best way to improve literacy, foster empathy, create critical thinkers and, according to the ALA (2019), “promote intellectual freedom.” To that end, we encourage literacy in all its forms, and especially through school libraries. 

Censorship and Intellectual Freedom 

We are committed to supporting intellectual freedom and our students’ right to read. While we recognize that various constituencies will have different opinions about the content and quality of the books in our libraries, we are committed to challenging censorship, as protected by the First Amendment. To maintain vibrant library collections while responding to community concerns, we support the processes for challenging and — only if absolutely necessary — removing books from our schools. 

If policies and procedures for selection and reconsideration are not yet in place in every district, they should be. Moreover, the ways in which various stakeholders are identified and invited to the development of such policies is crucial. To the extent that it is feasible, we believe that students from the school — elementary, middle, or high school — who would be affected by the ban should also be part of the procedure. 


Students’ Rights 

Children, with the guidance of their parents and caregivers, have the right to make choices about what they read as individuals. The First Amendment guarantees this right to choose and parents should be involved in those choices. However, no individual, group of individuals, legislator, community member, or even school board member, based on their own personal beliefs or political viewpoint, can dictate what all students are — or are not — allowed to read. As NCTE argues, “we respect the right of individuals to be selective in their own reading” (2018). In all cases, we believe that students themselves must have a voice in this decision. 

Parents’ and Caregivers’ Rights 

We believe that parents and caregivers have always had and should retain the right and responsibility to guide, select, and monitor their own children’s reading material; however, parents and caregivers do not have the right to limit or prevent other childrens’ reading, even when those materials may contrast with their own personal beliefs. Parents and caregivers do have the legal right to review and/or petition texts — through their local school’s board-approved processes and established library collection development procedures — or to ask for alternative selections for their own children.


School Librarians’ Rights 

School librarians have the right to curate a current, diverse, and inclusive school library collection based on established collection development policies that “support the developmental, cultural, social, and linguistic needs of all learners” (AASL, 2020). As professionals, they are entitled to due diligence and adequate protections from their school administration and, as local contracts allow, their union. Moreover, the school library is a classroom; school librarians, as educators, have the same rights as teachers to select, display, and encourage students to read a variety of books. 

Teachers’ Rights 

We believe that teachers have the right to select whole-group, small-group, and individual texts for their classrooms based upon “the contribution each work may make to the education of the reader, its aesthetic value, its honesty, its readability for a particular group of students, and its appeal to young children and adolescents” (NCTE, 2018). Knowing their students’ particular passions, questions, and goals, teachers can select and suggest books that meet them where they are, both to build their skills and motivate them to read a variety of authors and genres in support of their continued literacy learning. 

Administrators’ and School Board Members’ Rights 

We believe that administrators and school board members have the right to develop and follow school-related policies, including those related to book selection. We also realize that they are balancing the needs of many (and oftentimes competing) constituencies. As they facilitate conversations and enact policies, they must listen deeply to hear questions and concerns from these stakeholders. Yet, they must also stand firm for the rights of all students, providing insights to the community about culturally responsive instruction regarding the topics and themes that are relevant to the wider audience of readers in their school. 


At a time when book challenges and bans are on the increase around our country, we affirm students’ rights to read and parents’ and caregivers’ rights to guide their students’ choices. We also affirm the rights and responsibilities of school librarians, teachers, administrators, and School Board members to offer books inclusive of the diversity found nationwide. In partnership with parents and caregivers, administrators, and colleagues, we stand firm in our belief that choice reading leads to stronger readers, critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and empathetic citizens essential to our democracy. 


The Board of Directors of the following organizations have affirmed and support the above statements: Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME) 

  • Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) 
  • Michigan Reading Association (MRA)



American Association of School Librarians. (2020). The school librarian’s role in reading. ment_RoleinReading_2020-01-25.pdf 

American Library Association [ALA]. (2004). The freedom to read statement. Retrieved April 14, 2022, from 

American Library Association [ALA]. (2019). Schools and minors’ rights. Retrieved April 6, 2022, from 

Bishop, R. S. (1990). Mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors. Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, 6(3), ix-xi. 

National Council of Teachers of English [NCTE]. (2018). The students’ right to read. 

Additional Resources 

American Association of School Librarians. (2018). Definition of an effective school library. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from AASL_Position_Statement_Effective_SLP_2018.pdf 

American Library Association. (2014). Access to resources and services in the school library: An interpretation of the library bill of rights. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from 

American Library Association. (2018). Selection & reconsideration policy toolkit for public, school, & academic libraries. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from 

American Library Association. (2019). Library bill of rights. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from 

American Library Association. (2021). How to respond to challenges and concerns about library resources. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from 

American Library Association. (2022). Fight censorship. 

International Literacy Association. (2018). Children’s right to read pdf 

National Council of Teachers of English. (2022). NCTE intellectual freedom center. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from

The Students' Right to Read (NCTE)
A position statement from the National Council of Teachers of English

October 25, 2018

View on the NCTE website

The Students’ Right to Read

Category: Censorship, Intellectual Freedom, Reading
Print Statement

The NCTE Executive Committee reaffirmed this guideline in November 2012.

This statement was originally developed in 1981, revised April 2009 to adhere to NCTE’s Policy on Involvement of People of Color, and revised again in September 2018.

Overview: The Students’ Right to Read provides resources that can be used to help discuss and ensure students’ free access to all texts. The genesis of the Students’ Right to Read was an original Council statement, “Request for Reconsideration of a Work,” prepared by the Committee on the Right to Read of the National Council of Teachers of English and revised by Ken Donelson. The current Students’ Right to Read statement represents an updated second edition that builds on the work of Council members dedicated to ensuring students the freedom to choose to read any text and opposing “efforts of individuals or groups to limit the freedom of choice of others.” Supported through references from text challenges and links to resources, this statement discusses the history and dangers of text censorship which highlight the breadth and significance of the Students’ Right to Read. The statement then culminates in processes that can be followed with different stakeholders when students’ reading rights are infringed.


The Right to Read and the Teacher of English

For many years, American schools have been pressured to restrict or deny students access to texts deemed objectionable by some individual or group. These pressures have mounted in recent years, and English teachers have no reason to believe they will diminish. The fight against censorship is a continuing series of skirmishes, not a pitched battle leading to a final victory over censorship.

We can safely make two statements about censorship: first, any text is potentially open to attack by someone, somewhere, sometime, for some reason; second, censorship is often arbitrary and irrational. For example, classics traditionally used in English classrooms have been accused of containing obscene, heretical, or subversive elements such as the following:

  • Plato’s Republic: “the book is un-Christian”
  • Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days: “very unfavorable to Mormons”
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter: “a filthy book”
  • Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “too violent for children today”
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment: “a poor model for young people”
  • Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick: “contains homosexuality”

Modern works, even more than the classics, are criticized with terms such as “filthy,” “un-American,” “overly realistic,” and “anti-war.” Some books have been attacked merely for being “controversial,” suggesting that for some people the purpose of education is not the investigation of ideas but rather the indoctrination of a certain set of beliefs and standards. Referencing multiple years of research completed by the American Library Association (ALA), the following statements represent complaints typical of those made against modern works of literature:

  • D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye: “profanity, lurid passages about sex, and statements defamatory to minorities, God, women, and the disabled”
  • John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath: “uses the name of God and Jesus in a vain and profane manner”
  • Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson’s And Tango Makes Three: “anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group”
  • Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird: “promotes racial hatred, racial division, racial separation, and promotes white supremacy”
  • Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia: “occult/Satanism, offensive language, violence”
  • Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye: “offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group”
  • Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings’s I Am Jazz: “inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group”

Some groups and individuals have also raised objections to literature written specifically for young people. As long as novels intended for young people stayed at the intellectual and emotional level of A Date for Marcy or A Touchdown for Thunderbird High, censors could forego criticism. But many contemporary novels for adolescents focus on the real world of young people–drugs, premarital sex, alcoholism, divorce, gangs, school dropouts, racism, violence, and sensuality. English teachers willing to defend classics and modern literature must be prepared to give equally spirited defense to serious and worthwhile children’s and young adult novels.

Literature about minoritized ethnic or racial groups remains “controversial” or “objectionable” to many adults. As long as groups such as African Americans, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Latinxs “kept their proper place”—awarded them by a White society—censors rarely raised their voices. But attacks have increased in frequency as minoritized groups have refused to observe their assigned “place.” Though nominally, the criticisms of literature about minoritized racial or ethnic groups have usually been directed at “bad language,” “suggestive situations,” “questionable literary merit,” or “ungrammatical English” (usually oblique complaints about the different dialect or culture of a group), the underlying motive for some attacks has unquestionably been discriminatory. Typical of censors’ criticisms of ethnic works are the following comments:

  • Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: “homosexuality, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group”
  • Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima: “occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, violence”
  • Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner: “sexual violence, religious themes, ‘may lead to terrorism’”
  • Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: “anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence, depictions of bullying”

Books are not alone in being subject to censorship. Magazines or newspapers used, recommended, or referred to in English classes have increasingly drawn the censor’s fire. Few libraries would regard their periodical collection as worthwhile or representative without some or all of the following publications, but all of them have been the target of censors on occasion:

  • National Geographic: “Nudity and sensationalism, especially in stories on barbaric foreign people.”
  • Scholastic Magazine: “Doctrines opposing the beliefs of the majority, socialistic programs; promotes racial unrest and contains very detailed geography of foreign countries, especially those inhabited by dark people.”
  • National Observer: “Right-wing trash with badly reported news.”
  • New York Times: “That thing should be outlawed after printing the Pentagon Papers and helping our country’s enemies.”

The immediate results of demands to censor books or periodicals vary. At times, school boards and administrators have supported and defended their teachers, their use of materials under fire, and the student’s right of access to the materials. At other times, however, special committees have been formed to cull out “objectionable works” or “modern trash” or “controversial literature.” Some teachers have been summarily reprimanded for assigning certain works, even to mature students. Others have been able to retain their positions only after initiating court action.

Not as sensational, but perhaps more important, are the long range effects of censoring the rights of educators and students to self-select what they read and engage with. Schools have removed texts from libraries and classrooms and curricula have been changed when English teachers have avoided using or recommending works which might make some members of the community uncomfortable or angry. Over the course of their schooling, many students are consequently “educated” in a system that is hostile to critical inquiry and dialogue. And many teachers and other school staff learn to emphasize their own sense of comfort and safety rather than their students’ needs.

The problem of censorship does not derive solely from the small anti-intellectual, ultra-moral, or ultra-patriotic groups which will typically function in a society that guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The present concern is rather with the frequency and force of attacks by others, often people of good will and the best intentions, some from within the teaching profession. The National Council of Teachers of English, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the American Library Association, as well as the publishing industry and writers themselves agree: pressures for censorship are great throughout our society.

The material that follows is divided into two sections. The first on “The Right to Read” is addressed to parents and the community at large. The other section, “A Program of Action,” lists Council recommendations for establishing professional committees in every school to set up procedures for book selection, to work for community support, and to review complaints against texts.

Where suspicion fills the air and holds scholars in line for fear of their jobs, there can be no exercise of the free intellect. . . . A problem can no longer be pursued with impunity to its edges. Fear stalks the classroom. The teacher is no longer a stimulant to adventurous thinking; she [sic] becomes instead a pipe line for safe and sound information. A deadening dogma takes the place of free inquiry. Instruction tends to become sterile; pursuit of knowledge is discouraged; discussion often leaves off where it should begin.

—Justice William O. Douglas, United States Supreme Court: Adler v. Board of Education, 1951


The Right to Read

An open letter to our country from the National Council of Teachers of English:

The right to read, like all rights guaranteed or implied within our constitutional tradition, can be used wisely or foolishly. In many ways, education is an effort to improve the quality of choices open to all students. But to deny the freedom of choice in fear that it may be unwisely used is to destroy the freedom itself. For this reason, we respect the right of individuals to be selective in their own reading. But for the same reason, we oppose efforts of individuals or groups to limit the freedom of choice of others or to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large.

One of the foundations of a democratic society is the individual’s right to read, and also the individual’s right to freely choose what they would like to read. This right is based on an assumption that the educated possess judgment and understanding and can be trusted with the determination of their own actions. In effect, the reader is freed from the bonds of chance. The reader is not limited by birth, geographic location, or time, since reading allows meeting people, debating philosophies, and experiencing events far beyond the narrow confines of an individual’s own existence.

In selecting texts to read by young people, English teachers consider the contribution each work may make to the education of the reader, its aesthetic value, its honesty, its readability for a particular group of students, and its appeal to young children and adolescents. English teachers, however, may use different texts for different purposes. The criteria for choosing a text to be read by an entire class are somewhat different from the criteria for choosing texts to be read by small groups.

For example, a teacher might select John Knowles’s A Separate Peace for reading by an entire class, partly because the book has received wide critical recognition, partly because it is relatively short and will keep the attention of many slower readers, and partly because it has proved popular with many students of widely differing skill sets. The same teacher, faced with the responsibility of choosing or recommending books for several small groups of students, might select or recommend books as different as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan DenisovitchMarjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Malcolm X’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart, or Paul Zindel’s The Pigman, depending upon the skills and interests of the students in each group.

And the criteria for suggesting books to individuals or for recommending something worth reading for a student who casually stops by after class are different from selecting material for a class or group. As opposed to censoring, the teacher selects texts, and also helps guide students to self-select them. Selection implies that one is free to choose a text, depending upon the purpose to be achieved and the students or class in question, but a book selected this year may be ignored next year, and the reverse. Censorship implies that certain works are not open to selection, this year or any year.

Wallace Stevens once wrote, “Literature is the better part of life. To this it seems inevitably necessary to add / provided life is the better part of literature” (1957). Students and parents have the right to demand that education today keep students in touch with the reality of the world outside the classroom. Many of our best literary works ask questions as valid and significant today as when the literature first appeared, questions like “What is the nature of humanity?” “Why do people praise individuality and practice conformity?” “What do people need for a good life?” and “What is the nature of a good person?” English teachers must be free to employ books, classic or contemporary, which do not hide, or lie to the young, about the perilous but wondrous times we live in, books which talk of the fears, hopes, joys, and frustrations people experience, books about people not only as they are but as they can be. English teachers forced through the pressures of censorship to use only safe or antiseptic works are placed in the morally and intellectually untenable position of lying to their students about the nature and condition of humanity.

The teacher must exercise care to select or recommend works for class reading and group discussion. One of the most important responsibilities of the English teacher is developing rapport and respect among students. Respect for the uniqueness and potential of the individual, an important facet of the study of literature, should be emphasized in the English class. One way rapport and respect can be developed is through encouraging the students themselves to explore and engage with texts of their own selection. Also, English classes should reflect the cultural contributions of minoritized groups in the United States, just as they should acquaint students with diverse contributions by the many peoples of the world. Finally, the teacher should be prepared to support and defend their classroom and students’ process in selecting and engaging with diverse texts against potential censorship and controversy.


The Threat to Education

Censorship leaves students with an inadequate and distorted picture of the ideals, values, and problems of their culture. Writers may often represent their culture, or they may stand to the side and describe and evaluate that culture. Yet partly because of censorship or the fear of censorship, many writers are ignored or inadequately represented in the public schools, and many are represented in anthologies not by their best work but by their “safest” or “least offensive” work.

The censorship pressures receiving the greatest publicity are those of small groups who protest the use of a limited number of books with some “objectionable” realistic elements, such as Brave New WorldLord of the FliesGeorgeThe Joy Luck Club, Catch-22Their Eyes Were Watching God, or A Day No Pigs Would Die. The most obvious and immediate victims are often found among our best and most creative English teachers, those who have ventured outside the narrow boundaries of conventional texts. Ultimately, however, the real victims are the students, denied the freedom to explore ideas and pursue truth wherever and however they wish.

Great damage may be done by book committees appointed by national or local organizations to pore over anthologies, texts, library books, and paperbacks to find passages which advocate, or seem to advocate, causes or concepts or practices these organizations condemn. As a result, some publishers, sensitive to possible objections, carefully exclude sentences or selections that might conceivably offend some group, somehow, sometime, somewhere.


The Community’s Responsibility

Individuals who care about the improvement of education are urged to join students, teachers, librarians, administrators, boards of education, and professional and scholarly organizations in support of the students’ right to read. Widespread and informed support in and across communities can assure that

  • enough residents are interested in the development and maintenance of a rigorous school system to guarantee its achievement;
  • malicious gossip, ignorant rumors, internet posts, and deceptive letters to the editor will not be circulated without challenge and correction;
  • news media will observe that the public sincerely desires objective reporting about education, free from slanting or editorial comment which destroys confidence in and support for schools;
  • the community will not permit its resources and energies to be dissipated in conflicts created by special interest groups striving to advance their ideologies or biases; and
  • faith in democratic processes will be promoted and maintained.


A Program of Action

Censorship in schools is a widespread problem. Teachers of English, librarians, and school administrators can best serve students, literature, and the profession today if they prepare now to face pressures sensibly, demonstrating on the one hand a willingness to consider the merits of any complaint and on the other the courage to defend their literacy program with intelligence and vigor. The Council therefore recommends that schools undertake the following two-step program to protect the students’ right to read:

  • establish a diverse committee that is representative of the local school community to consider book selection procedures and to screen complaints; and
  • promote a community atmosphere in which local residents may be enlisted to support the freedom to read.


Procedures for Text Selection

Although one may defend the freedom to read without reservation as one of the hallmarks of a free society, there is no substitute for informed, professional, and qualified book selection. English teachers are typically better qualified to choose and recommend texts for their classes than persons not prepared in the field. Nevertheless, administrators have certain legal and professional responsibilities. For these reasons and as a matter of professional courtesy, they should be kept informed about the criteria and the procedures used by English teachers in selecting books and the titles of the texts used.

In each school, the English department should develop its own statement explaining why literature is taught and how books are chosen for each class. This statement should be on file with the administration before any complaints are received. The statement should also support the teacher’s right to choose supplementary materials, to build a diverse classroom library, and to discuss controversial issues insofar as they are relevant. In addition, students should be allowed the right to self-select books to read from classroom and school library shelves.

Operating within such a policy, the English department should take the following steps:

  1. Establish a committee to support English teachers in finding exciting and challenging texts of potential value to students at a specific school. Schools without departments or small schools with a few English teachers should organize a permanent committee charged with the responsibility of alerting other teachers to new texts just published, or old texts now forgotten which might prove valuable in the literacy program. Students should be encouraged to participate in the greatest degree that their development and skill sets allow.
  2. Devote time at each department or grade-level meeting to reviews and comments by the above committee or plan special meetings for this purpose. Free and open discussions on texts of potential value to students would seem both reasonable and normal for any English department. Teachers should be encouraged to challenge any texts recommended or to suggest titles hitherto ignored. Require that each English teacher give a rationale for any text to be read by an entire class. Written rationales for all texts read by an entire class would serve the department well if censorship should strike. A file of rationales should serve as impressive evidence to the administration and the community that English teachers have not chosen their texts lightly or haphazardly.
  3. Report to the administration the texts that will be used for class reading by each English teacher.

A procedure such as this gives each teacher the right to expect support from fellow teachers and administrators whenever someone objects to a text.


The Legal Problem

Apart from the professional and moral issues involved in censorship, there are legal matters about which NCTE cannot give advice. The Council is not a legal authority. Across the nation, moreover, conditions vary so much that no one general principle applies. In some states, for example, textbooks are purchased from public funds and supplied free to students; in others, students must rent or buy their own texts.

The legal status of textbook adoption lists also varies. Some lists include only those books which must be taught and allow teachers and sometimes students the freedom to select additional titles; other lists are restrictive, containing the only books which may be required for all students.

As a part of sensible preparations for handling attacks on books, each school should ascertain what laws apply to it.


Preparing the Community

To respond to complaints about texts, every school should have a committee of teachers (and possibly students, parents, and other representatives from the local community) organized to

  1. inform the community about text selection procedures;
  2. enlist the support of residents, possibly by explaining the place of literacy and relevant texts in the educational process or by discussing at meetings of parents and other community groups the texts used at that school; and
  3. consider any complaints against any work. No community is so small that it lacks concerned people who care about their children and the educational program of the schools, and will support English teachers in defending books when complaints are received. Unfortunately, English teachers too often are unaware or do not seek out these people and cultivate their goodwill and support before censorship strikes.


Defending the Texts

Despite the care taken to select worthwhile texts for student reading and the qualifications of teachers selecting and recommending books, occasional objections to a work will undoubtedly be made. All texts are potentially open to criticism in one or more general areas: the treatment of ideologies, of minorities, of gender identities, of love and sex; the use of language not acceptable to some people; the type of illustrations; the private life or political affiliations of the author or the illustrator.

Some attacks are made by groups or individuals frankly hostile to free inquiry and open discussion; others are made by misinformed or misguided people who, acting on emotion or rumor, simply do not understand how the texts are to be used. Others are also made by well-intentioned and conscientious people who fear that harm will come to some segment of the community if a particular text is read or recommended.

What should be done upon receipt of a complaint?

  • If the complainant telephones, listen courteously and refer them to the teacher involved. That teacher should be the first person to discuss the text with the person objecting to its use.
  • If the complainant is not satisfied, invite them to file the complaint in writing, but make no commitments, admissions of guilt, or threats.
  • If the complainant writes, contact the teacher involved and have the teacher call the complainant.
  • For any of the situations above, the teacher is advised to be aware of local contractual and policy stipulations regarding such situations, and keep a written record of what transpired during the complaint process.


An additional option is to contact the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center to report incidents and seek further resources (


Request for Reconsideration of a Text

Author ____________________________________________

Paperback_____ Hardcover _____  Online _____

Title ______________________________________________

Publisher (if known) __________________________________

Website URL (if applicable) ___________________________

Request initiated by __________________________________

Telephone _________________________________________

Address ___________________________________________

City / State / Zip _______________________________________________

Complainant represents
____ (Name of individual) ___________________________
____ (Name of organization) ___________________________

  1. Have you been able to discuss this work with the teacher or librarian who ordered it or who used it?
    ____ Yes ____ No
  2. What do you understand to be the general purpose for using this work?
    • Provide support for a unit in the curriculum?
      ___ Yes ___ No
    • Provide a learning experience for the reader in one kind of literature?
      ___ Yes ___ No
    • Provide opportunities for students self-selected reading experiences?

___ Yes ___ No

  • Other __________________________________________
  1. Did the general purpose for the use of the work, as described by the teacher or librarian, seem a suitable one to you?
    ____Yes ____ No

If not, please explain.

  1. What do you think is the author’s general purpose for this book?
  2. In what ways do you think a work of this nature is not suitable for the use the teacher or librarian wishes to carry out?
  3. What have been students’ responses to this work?
    ____ Yes ____ No

If yes, what responses did the students make?

  1. Have you been able to learn what qualified reviewers or other students have written about this work?
    ____ Yes ____ No

If yes, what are those responses?

  1. Would you like the teacher or librarian to give you a written summary of what qualified reviewers and other students have written about this book or film?
    ____ Yes ____ No
  2. Do you have negative reviews of the book?
    ____ Yes ____ No
  3. Where were they published?
  4. Would you be willing to provide summaries of their views you have collected?
    ____ Yes ____ No
  5. How would you like your library/school to respond to this request for reconsideration?
    ____ Do not assign/lend it to my child.
    ____ Return it to the staff selection committee/department for reevaluation.
    ____ Other–Please explain
  6. In its place, what work would you recommend that would convey as valuable a perspective as presented in the challenged text?

Signature __________________________________________



At first, the English teacher should politely acknowledge the complaint and explain the established procedures. The success of much censorship depends upon frightening an unprepared school or English department into some precipitous action. A standardized procedure will take the sting from the first outburst of criticism and place the burden of proof on the objector. When the reasonable objector learns that they will be given a fair hearing through following the proper channels, they are more likely to be satisfied. The idle censor, on the other hand, may well be discouraged from taking further action. A number of advantages will be provided by the form, which will

  • formalize the complaint,
  • indicate specifically the work in question,
  • identify the complainant,
  • suggest how many others support the complaint,
  • require the complainant to think through objections in order to make an intelligent statement on the text and complaint (1, 2, and 3),
  • cause the complainant to evaluate the work for other groups than merely the one they first had in mind (4),
  • establish the familiarity of the complainant with the work (5),
  • give the complainant an opportunity to consider the criticism about the work and the teacher’s purpose in using the work (6, 7, and 8), and
  • give the complainant an opportunity to suggest alternative actions to be taken on the work (9 and 10).

The committee reviewing complaints should be available on short notice to consider the completed “Request for Reconsideration of a Work” and to call in the complainant and the teacher involved for a conference. Members of the committee should have reevaluated the work in advance of the meeting, and the group should be prepared to explain its findings. Membership of the committee should ordinarily include an administrator, the English department chair, and at least two classroom teachers of English. But the department might consider the advisability of including members from the community and the local or state NCTE affiliate. As a matter of course, recommendations from the committee would be forwarded to the superintendent, who would in turn submit them to the board of education, the legally constituted authority in the school.

Teachers and administrators should recognize that the responsibility for selecting texts for class study lies with classroom teachers and students, and that the responsibility for reevaluating any text begins with the review committee. Both teachers and administrators should refrain from discussing the objection with the complainant, the press, or community groups. Once the complaint has been filed, the authority for handling the situation must ultimately rest with the administration and school board.

Freedom of inquiry is essential to education in a democracy. To establish conditions essential for freedom, teachers and administrators need to follow procedures similar to those recommended here. Where schools resist unreasonable pressures, the cases are seldom publicized and students continue to read works as they wish. The community that entrusts students to the care of an English teacher should also trust that teacher to exercise professional judgment in selecting or recommending texts. The English teacher can be free to teach literacy, and students can be free to read whatever they wish only if informed and vigilant groups, within the profession and without, unite in resisting unfair pressures.



Stevens, W. (1957, April). Adagia Part One. Poetry, 41-44.

American Library Association. (2018).  Top Ten Most Challenged Books Lists. (Accessed July 15, 2018)

American Library Association. (2018).  Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2017: Resources & Graphics. (Accessed July 15, 2018)

American Library Association (2013, March).  Banned & Challenged Classics. (Accessed June 15, 2018).


The Committee on the Right to Read of the National Council of Teachers of English:

  • Edward R. Gordon, Yale University, New Jersey, Chair
  • Martin Steinmann, University of Minnesota, Associate Chair
  • Harold B. Allen, University of Minnesota
  • Frank A. Doggett, D. U. Fletcher High School, Jacksonville Beach, Florida
  • Jack Fields, Great Neck South High School, New York
  • Graham S. Frear, St. Olaf College, Minnesota
  • Robert Gard, Camelback High School, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Frank Ross, Detroit Public Schools, Michigan
  • Warren Taylor, Oberlin College, Ohio

Statement Authors

This document was revised by an NCTE working committee comprising the following:

  • Benjamin “Benji” Chang, Education University of Hong Kong, Chair
  • Anna Lavergne, Houston Independent School District, Texas
  • Kim Pinkerton, Texas A&M University, Commerce
  • Pernille Ripp, Oregon School District, Oregon, Wisconsin
  • Gabe Silveri, Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District, Houston, Texas

Permission is granted to reproduce in whole or in part the material in this publication, with proper credit to the National Council of Teachers of English. Some schools may wish to modify the statements and arrange separately for printing or duplication. In such cases, of course, it should be made clear that revised statements appear under the authorization and sponsorship of the local school or association, not NCTE.

Guidelines for Dealing with Censorship of Instructional Materials (NCTE)
A position statement from the National Council of Teachers of EnglishJuly 31, 2018

View on the NCTE website

Guidelines for Dealing with Censorship of Instructional Materials

Category: Censorship, Education Policy, Intellectual Freedom, Professional Concerns
Print Statement

This statement, formerly known as Guidelines for Dealing with Censorship of Nonprint and Multimedia Materials, was updated in July 2018 with the new title, Guidelines for Dealing with Censorship of Instructional Materials.

Originally developed by the NCTE Standing Committee Against Censorship, 1996, revised October 2004, revised July 2018



Censorship has been a singular topic of concern and resistance for teachers and schools for generations. From protecting the textual choices of educators in classrooms to defending the languages and perspectives expressed by students, responding to censorship challenges requires vigilance and clear guidelines. Recognizing that the role of technology, production, and participatory culture allow texts to be created and interpreted in many different ways in schools today, this statement focuses on instructional materials broadly in its outline of how to deal with censorship. Focusing on materials broadly defined in classrooms and schools today, a committee of English educators updated a 2004 position statement originally detailing censorship of “nonprint” materials. This new statement bridges censorship issues across varied modalities and texts.



The First Amendment is among the most frequently cited and frequently debated clauses in the Constitution. A number of Supreme Court cases have provided guidance on expression that is and is not protected in schools. These cases acknowledge that schools are unique spaces; prioritizing the development of critical thinking and communication requires promoting the free flow of a wide range of perspectives within an environment that is safe for a diverse group of students.

Regardless of setting and cultural context, classroom instruction will require teachers to introduce potentially controversial materials into classroom discussion. These are complex challenges that require recognizing the needs of students, the responsibilities that educators hold in day-to-day contexts, and the considerations of power and positionality of adults working with historically marginalized students of diverse cultures and creeds. Despite these challenges, the ability to resist both direct and indirect forms of censorship is a necessary aspect of teachers’ practices if they are to support the civic agency of young people. Consequently, educators must ensure that all instructional materials and resources are available for classroom study and discussion and that these materials are equally accessible to students of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Unfortunately, the classroom study of print, nonprint, and multimedia materials is often jeopardized by direct and indirect censorship. Direct censorship occurs when principals and school boards restrict the materials a teacher can and cannot use in the classroom, for instance, when teachers are told not to show films the Motion Picture Association of American has rated “R.”  In fact, the courts have ruled that such ratings are not relevant to instructional purposes.  The use of software filters on school and library computers to block student access to potentially offensive materials on the Internet, as required by the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA), also represents an instance of direct censorship. While the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress is within its rights to mandate the use of filters as a condition of funding, research indicates that such devices often block access to “protected” and potentially valuable sites, are largely ineffective at protecting users from objectionable materials, and can be easily circumvented.

Indirect censorship, in contrast to direct censorship, may be even more insidious. Indirect censorship occurs when teachers, in an attempt to avoid controversy, self-censor their classrooms, limiting their students’ education, for instance, by restricting the viewpoints and perspectives of authors, producers, and community members that may be deemed controversial. Such indirect censorship is often most frequently tied to the voices of producers from historically marginalized communities such as members of the LGBTQ communities, despite the fact that these voices will mirror the often invisible identities of students in all teachers’ classrooms. Indirect censorship, like direct censorship, deprives students of the learning opportunities they need to become fully literate, civic actors and suppresses the full humanity of the young people in schools now.

At the same time that censorship has historically been a factor for how teachers choose the kinds of broadly defined texts to include in classrooms, students’ production of texts is also under threat of censorship. Acknowledging the powerful possibilities of youth production within schools and beyond, educators must make efforts to cultivate youth voices and perspectives within their classrooms across different modalities and languages. The censorship of cultural values, identities, and language practices denigrates the agency of young people and erodes trust in educational institutions.

Students today access and produce texts across myriad platforms, utilizing multiple tools, in various languages, and for diverse audiences. From traditional, bound books and newspapers to interactive media, social networks, and digital video- and audio-based resources, knowledge and culture are disseminated in many kinds of ways. Online resources, in particular, are invaluable educational tools that both in and out of schools shape attitudes, beliefs, and learning opportunities. Recognizing the rich and complex set of instructional decisions that teachers make, NCTE strongly advocates for centering the expertise and pedagogical considerations of teachers in determining what instructional materials to bring into classrooms. Part of this decision requires a familiarity with media literacy and with fair-use policies, and this statement encourages educators to review previous NCTE documents noted below in this regard.

In considering the role of teachers and the possibilities of young people, it is clear that decisions as to the aesthetic and pedagogical value and developmental appropriateness of instructional materials must be entrusted to teachers and librarians, working in concert with school administrators, school boards, and parents. In all cases, the primary concerns must be fostering student growth and understanding while protecting intellectual freedom in our schools. This position statement is designed to help teachers and school policymakers to realize these twin aims.


Responsibilities of Teachers, Teacher Educators, Administrators, and Policymakers

Schools wishing to foster intellectual freedom should create an environment in which teachers are encouraged to promote the free flow of a wide range of perspectives while creating an environment that is safe for a diverse group of students. In order to prepare for teaching with and about a wide range of instructional materials, including multimedia, teachers, teacher educators, administrators, and policymakers should

  • be aware of the values of specific communities schools serve and the media students regularly read.
  • create, publish, and implement policies for selection of instructional materials, including “due process” provisions when materials are challenged.
  • work with school media resource centers to select developmentally appropriate materials for the curriculum from a wide variety of outlets and viewpoints to encourage students’ intellectual and aesthetic development.
  • preview materials and prepare rationales for their use; specify in curriculum guides and course syllabi provided to students and parents how materials and texts will be used for instructional purposes; and provide alternative works where academically feasible and relevant.
  • examine all instructional materials for biases and propaganda, including those that are sponsored, free, and inexpensive, remembering that the function of English language arts teachers is to educate, not indoctrinate, students.
  • protect both the integrity of the work and students’ First Amendment rights by offering work whole and unaltered to students whenever possible, that is, as their creators intended them to be experienced.
  • include sufficient introductory preparation in classes dealing with material for which controversy might be expected, including a cultural, historical, economic, and social context; provide careful explanation of the overriding educational purpose; schedule time for substantial follow-up activity for students to analyze the degree to which student responses are culturally constructed and reflect individual interactions with the world; and promote inquiry-based classroom strategies.
  • develop techniques of leading civil discussion and debate, and resolving conflict in the classroom. The discussion of controversial topics or works does not imply endorsement or approval of the views or values suggested by those works or expressed by students in discussion of those works. Intellectual freedom and development require that students learn to dispute civilly.
  • follow copyright law and fair-use guidelines as they apply to all instructional materials used for educational purposes.
  • learn to engage students in producing multimedia materials and how to protect their rights to free expression within schools.



Booklist. American Library Association, 1905–present. Biweekly review journal, includes assessment of age appropriateness of new print and nonprint materials, including video and computer software.

Brown, Jean, ed. 1994. Preserving Intellectual Freedom: Fighting Censorship in Our Schools. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Davis, James, ed. 1979. Dealing with Intellectual Freedom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Foerstal, Herbert N. 1998. Banned in the Media: A Reference Guide to Censorship in the Press, Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Internet. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Hobbs, Renee. 2010. Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

The Intellectual Freedom Manual. 6th ed. 2001. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

National Council of Teachers of English. 1982. “The Students’ Right to Read.” Urbana, IL: NCTE.

National Council of Teachers of English. 1982. “The Students’ Right to Know.” Urbana, IL: NCTE.

National Council of Teachers of English and International Reading Association. 1992. “Common Ground: Speak with One Voice on Intellectual Freedom and the Defense of It.” Prepared by the NCTE/IRA Joint Task Force on Intellectual Freedom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

National School Board Association. 1989. Censorship: Managing the Controversy. Alexandria, VA: NSBA.

Simmons, John. 2001. School Censorship in the 21st Century: A Guide for Teachers and School Library Media Specialists. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Spiering, Jenna. 2017. “Reviewing to Exclude?: Critical Discourse Analysis of YA LGBTQ Book Reviews for School Librarians.” The ALAN Review 44, no. 2: 43-53.

United States v. American Library Association, 123 S.Ct. 2296 .2003.

West, Mark. 1997. Trust Your Children: Voices Against Censorship in Children’s Literature. 2nd ed. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.



Each state’s Department of Public Instruction’s English Language Arts and School Library Media Offices can provide policy statements and other resources for teachers.

National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 W. Kenyon Rd., Urbana, IL 61801-1096. (800-369-6283);

American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611. (800-545-2433);

Center for Democracy and Technology, 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20006.  (202-637-9800);

National Coalition Against Censorship, 275 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001.  (212-807-6222);


Statement Authors

This document was revised by an NCTE working committee comprising the following:

Antero Garcia, Chair– Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Lisa Loomis – Hartford Public Schools, Hartford, CT

Alan Teasley – Duke University, Durham, NC


This position statement may be printed, copied, and disseminated without permission from NCTE.

Statement on Academic Freedom (NCTE)
A position statement from the National Council of Teachers of English

November 7, 2019

View on NCTE’s wesbite

Statement on Academic Freedom (Revised)

Category: Censorship, Intellectual Freedom, Professional Concerns, Working Conditions
Print Statement


Particularly in these times, the members of NCTE endorse and work to maintain academic freedom at all levels of public schooling.1

Academic freedom is a public trust earned by way of formal disciplinary training and expertise.  It is an individual English educator’s (teacher’s, researcher’s, and librarian’s) right to translate, produce, and curate past and new knowledge and dispositions within broadly accepted disciplinary parameters in order to advance the common good. As a professional organization concerned with English education, NCTE contributes to the articulation of those broad parameters through its position statements, its sponsored programs, and its research, curricular, and pedagogical publications.2

Skilled, academically credentialed English educators earn that trust by striving to prepare all students as literate individuals with requisite dispositions and capacities for open inquiry, critical thinking, and appreciation for diverse thoughts, values, and modes of expression required within a just democracy.3

With trust comes responsibilities expressed below as freedoms to and freedoms from.


Responsibilities of Academic Freedom

English educators must nurture and maintain their knowledge, capacities to explain, and abilities to implement the theories, research, curricula, and pedagogies of the English education field, at least as these topics pertain to academic decisions within their level of practice.4

In their work, English educators must model the desired dispositions and capacities of a literate individual in a just democracy.5

English educators are responsible for the intellectual, emotional, and social development of all students to ensure that each is able to participate as a peer with all others in the production and decisions of democratic social life.6

English educators have the freedom to

  • Follow their theoretical, research, and pedagogical commitments in all aspects of their work by situating their choices within the field and discipline.
  • Express their views in speech, writing, and digital communication unless those views impair rights of others or demonstrate ignorance of their field of expertise.
  • Choose topics and materials for inquiry and draw conclusions consistent with resulting evidence, establishing the relevance of their choices to the field and democratic social life.
  • Participate meaningfully as peers in the decisions concerning organizational structures, curricular matters, and pedagogical practices of their work.
  • Decide how to enact those decisions within their work, articulating how their choices fit within decision parameters.
  • Grieve formally any transgressions of these freedoms before professional peers.


English educators have freedom from harassment, censorship, imposition, and retaliation or sanction from politicians, administrators, corporations, or members of the public for enacting the above freedoms responsibly.

Academic freedom does not prohibit scholarly challenges to English educators’ academic choices or actions; exempt them from school rules or regulations; or protect their incompetence, bigotry, or dereliction of responsibilities.



  1. NCTE Vision Statement (2017)
  2. NCTE Resources (2019)
  3. NCTE Resolution on English Education for Critical Literacy in Politics and Media (2019)
  4. NCTE Statements on Educators’ Responsibility to Be Knowledgeable
  5. NCTE Demonstration of Literate Disposition for Students Resolution on Amplifying the Voice of Literacy Teachers (2018)
  6. NCTE Commitment to All Students’ Literacies


Additional Resources

“Academic Freedom.” American Federation of Teachers, Accessed 9 Sept. 2019.

“Academic Freedom.” American Library Association, April 2017, Accessed 9 Sept. 2019.

“Academic Freedom and Responsibility Toward Society—Who Decides What Science We Do?” Proceedings of the 12th Forum on the Internationalization of Sciences and Humanities, November 11–12, 2018. Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Accessed 9 Sept. 2019.

“Academic Freedom of Students and Professors, and Political Discrimination.” American Association of University Professors, Accessed 9 Sept. 2019.

International Reading Association and NCTE. “Common Ground: Speak with One Voice on Intellectual Freedom and the Defense of It.” Educational Resources Information Center, 2000, Accessed 9 Sept. 2019.

Nelson, Cary. “Defining Academic Freedom.” Inside Higher Ed, 21 Dec. 2010, Accessed 9 Sept. 2019.

Organization of American Historians Committee on Academic Freedom. “Academic Freedom Guidelines and Best Practices.” Organization of American Historians, Accessed 9 Sept. 2019.


This document was revised by an NCTE working committee comprising the following:

  • Abena Hutchful, National Coalition Against Censorship, New York, NY
  • Stacey Ross, Casis Elementary, Austin, TX
  • Patrick Shannon, chair, Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Paul Thomas, Furman University, Greenville, SC


The committee wishes to thank Emeritus Professor of English Cary Nelson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for his scholarly writing about academic freedom.

This position statement may be printed, copied, and disseminated without permission from NCTE.

Classroom Lessons


Are you looking for lessons and ready-to-use resources for implementing antiracist, inclusive teaching practices?

Click below to access our lesson bank.

Get help for a book challenge.

The Freedom to Read in Michigan (MAME, MCTE, and MRA)

This joint statement prepared by the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME), Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE), and Michigan Reading Association (MRA) describes stakeholders’ rights to read.

Everyday Advocacy – Opposing Bans

These guiding principles will help you respond to book challenges in ways that are “smart, safe, savvy, and sustainable.”

MI Right to Read

Use the Request Support tab to report challenges to the Michigan Library Association so they can begin the work to help. Reach out to the youth librarian at your local public library as well.

Report a Censorship Incident – National Council of Teachers of English

Report censorship incidents to NCTE for further assistance.

Book Rationales – National Council of Teachers of English

Search the database for rationales to support the teaching of some of the more common book titles in classrooms.

Responding to Book Challenges: A Handbook for Educators

Find practical tools and advice in this handbook created by the National Coalition Against Censorship in collaboration with the National Council of Teachers of English.

Office for Intellectual Freedom | About ALA

Report censorship to the American Library Association.

Learn about students' right to read.

The Freedom to Read in Michigan (MAME, MCTE, and MRA)

This joint statement prepared by the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME), Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE), and Michigan Reading Association (MRA) describes stakeholders’ rights to read.

Freedom to Read: Effort Builds to Stop Rising Book Bans – Michigan Education Association

In this five-part series, MEA Voice Editor Brenda Ortega examines growing calls to ban books in school libraries and efforts by MEA members, parents and allies to push back on this dangerous trend.

What Do Michiganders Really Think?  MLA Public Opinion Survey on Public Libraries and Book Banning

In March 2023, the Michigan Library Association contracted with EPIC-MRA, a full-service survey research firm with expertise in Public Opinion Surveys and Market Research Studies to conduct a statewide survey on library issues. While we have been using national studies to prove that book banning and censorship issues are not tolerated by the majority of voters in the country, we now have solid Michigan data to back this up.

Position Statements – National Council of Teachers of English

NCTE began fighting censorship in the 1950s. Read position statements on censorship and intellectual freedom here.

Learning for Justice: A Tool for Selecting Diverse Texts

Use this guide to consider complexity, diversity and representation, critical literacy, and reader and task in selecting texts for the classroom. 

Book Bans – PEN America

Review all up-to-date resources on book banning from PEN America.

Defend Your Right to Learn: Join In The Fight Against Classroom Censorship | American Civil Liberties Union

Join ACLU’s pledge to receive a Right to Learn toolkit to take action and fight back against censorship in schools and communities.

Prepare materials for my community.

What Do Michiganders Really Think?  MLA Public Opinion Survey on Public Libraries and Book Banning

In March 2023, the Michigan Library Association contracted with EPIC-MRA, a full-service survey research firm with expertise in Public Opinion Surveys and Market Research Studies to conduct a statewide survey on library issues. While we have been using national studies to prove that book banning and censorship issues are not tolerated by the majority of voters in the country, we now have solid Michigan data to back this up.

(Standing Up and) Pushing Back: A Conversation Around Book Bans and Censorship

Review these resources from Laura Gabrion, Wayne Regional Educational Service Agencies, and Troy Hicks, Central Michigan University, from the Michigan Reading Association 2022 Annual Conference.

Freedom to Read: Effort Builds to Stop Rising Book Bans – Michigan Education Association

In this five-part series, MEA Voice Editor Brenda Ortega examines growing calls to ban books in school libraries and efforts by MEA members, parents and allies to push back on this dangerous trend.

The Freedom to Read in Michigan (MAME, MCTE, and MRA)

This joint statement prepared by the Michigan Association for Media in Education (MAME), Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE), and Michigan Reading Association (MRA) describes stakeholders’ rights to read.

American Library Association Banned Books Week Resource Kits

Download posters, graphics, and data about censorship in schools and libraries from the ALA.

Educational Gag Orders In Your Community: A Tip Sheet for Changing the Conversation

This tip sheet from Pen America offers advice for changing the conversation in your community.

Educational Gag Orders: What Teachers Need to Know

View this slide deck from PEN America and Stand for Children presented at NCTE Homecoming, July 2022.

Defend Your Right to Learn: Join In The Fight Against Classroom Censorship | American Civil Liberties Union

Join ACLU’s pledge to receive a Right to Learn toolkit to take action and fight back against censorship in schools and communities.

Get involved in fighting censorship.

MI Right to Read

Access resources, sign up for email updates, and pledge your support to join the Michigan Library Association’s efforts to protect the right to read for all Michiganders.

NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center

Learn more about NCTE position statements and rationales. Plus, learn about volunteering for NCTE committee to fight censorship.

Book Bans – PEN America

Review all up-to-date resources on book banning from PEN America.

Next Gen PEN Free Expression Advocacy Institute

Learn about a program for high school students to become active and learn more about free expression issues; some of these opportunities are led by teacher sponsors.

Defend Your Right to Learn: Join In The Fight Against Classroom Censorship | American Civil Liberties Union

Join ACLU’s pledge to receive a Right to Learn toolkit to take action and fight back against censorship in schools and communities.

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