The question "Does ALA [American Library Association] ban books?" was found on the ALA's "Frequently Asked Questions" page for Banned Books Week. A critical review of the meanings students were ascribing to the lists of frequently challenged books published by ALA was prompted by the suggestions of two students that the Office of Intellectual Freedom bans books. Was it possible others thought ALA was banning books? This study employed a discourse analysis to closely examine how students talked about the lists and how ALA presents and markets those lists and Banned Books Week. Findings suggest the complexities inherent in the way ALA markets itself and how the public perceives the role of librarians in selecting and providing access to information and ideas.
Original Publication Citation
Kimmel, S. C., & Hartsfield, D. E. (2019). Does ALA ban books? Examining the discourse of challenged books. Library Quarterly, 89(3), 217-231. doi:10.1086/703469
Kimmel, Sue C. and Hartsfield, Danielle E., "Does ALA Ban Books? Examining the Discourse of Challenged Books" (2019). STEMPS Faculty Publications. 85.