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Challenge Support & Intellectual Freedom Resources

Across the United States, including Wisconsin, libraries and schools are experiencing an increase in challenges to materials.  When people have questions or concerns about items in the collection, it is important that libraries are ready to respond appropriately to ensure that the library’s mission, policies, and procedures are upheld and clearly communicated.

The resources listed below will help library staff prepare for and respond to materials challenges and requests for reconsideration. In addition, directors and managers are encouraged to review their local policies and procedures with staff to prepare for handling complaints as they arise.

Can’t find what you’re looking for here? Use this search box to search the IFLS Article Index.

Need help answering specific questions or finding additional resources?

Click on the green HelpDesk button and we’ll make sure the right IFLS staff gets that message right away. Can’t find the green button? Use this email: helpdesk@ifls.lib.wi.us.

There’s no wrong door! You can contact these IFLS staff for support on this topic:

Cecelia Cole, Resource Sharing and Collection Consultant cole@ifls.lib.wi.us

Leah Langby, Library Development and Youth Services Coordinator langby@ifls.lib.wi.us

Katelyn Noack, Public Services Consultant noack@ifls.lib.wi.us

John Thompson, Director thompson@ifls.lib.wi.us

Preparing for Materials Challenges

START HERE – Checklist: Preparing for Materials Challenges at Your Library (IFLS)

This checklist, created by IFLS staff, will guide you through four steps to prepare for materials challenges at your library.

Collection Development Policy EXAMPLE (Dresser Public Library)

Please feel free to use this policy as a template when updating or creating your own. This example has been carefully reviewed by IFLS and is based on updated recommendations from experts and librarians.

Other Recommended Resources:

Diversity Resources (CCBC)

Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit (ALA)

What IF…Forum (CCBC)

State Handbooks (WI DPI) – The following handbooks and recommended chapters are available by scrolling to the bottom of each page:

Administrative Essentials: A Handbook for Wisconsin Public Library Directors

  • AE 1: The Mission of the Public Library
  • AE 15: Policies and Procedures

Trustee Essentials: A Handbook for Wisconsin Public Library Trustees

  • TE 22: Freedom of Expression and Inquiry
  • TE 23: Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials or Policies

Responding to Materials Challenges

START HERE – Checklist: Responding to Challenges (IFLS)

This checklist, created by IFLS staff, will guide you through four steps when responding to materials challenges.

Other Recommended Resources:

Intellectual Freedom Information Services (CCBC) IFLS staff pick: best resource

Steps to Take When Materials are Challenged (CCBC) IFLS staff pick: best resource

Action Toolkit: Unite Against Book Bans (ALA)

Challenge Support (ALA)

Book Banning Resources (We Need Diverse Books)

Statements of Support

Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) Access to Information Statement

Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association (WEMTA) Resources Statement in Support of School Libraries and Librarians

Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) Statement on the Freedom to Read and Intellectual Freedom

WiLS  WiLS Supports Equity + Anti-Racism Work in Our Member Community