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Based on a presentation at the 28th Annual Convention of the Association of Jewish Libraries, held at the New York Hilton Hotel, June 22, 1993.

Abstract

The issue of intellectual freedom and its maintenance under the onslaught of those whose personal priorities and agendas dictate the censorship of library materials, is not one that is confined to any one type of institution. Challenges to textbooks and library books have increased alarmingly in the last few years in public and private, religious as well as secular, schools and libraries in our society to the point where librarians must question the possibility of controversy in titles on the Holocaust, along with the more traditional confrontations over sex and witchcraft.

What is the psychology behind this insidious trend? What can one do when one's library materials are challenged either by members of the community or by administrators? Who can one call upon for help? Most important, how can this problem be avoided altogether, or defused when it does occur? This paper contains the answers to all of these questions. In addition, it suggests how to actually begin writing a policy for materials selection which contains the mechanisms for dealing with attacks on our First Amendment freedoms.