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Canadian Federation of Library Associations / Fédération canadienne des associations de bibliothèques

2016 Annual Challenges Survey Preliminary Report Released

March 3, 2017

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) has released the preliminary 2016 Annual Challenges Survey report Inappropriate for Any Age – Ban It Forever!

To date, library staff in four provinces (BC, AB, ON, QC) have reported more than 30 challenges, to censor collections and resources, and access to services. All challenges were initiated in public libraries, primarily by library users. Complaints were primarily about explicit sexuality, violence, age appropriateness, or nudity in library materials, and complainants wanted those titles deemed objectionable, offensive, unsuitable, or otherwise unacceptable to be removed, restricted, relocated, or labelled. The majority of concerns were about books and DVDs intended for adults, with less than one-quarter targeting children’s or young adult materials, principally graphic novels and comics.

After review, library staff retained most of the targeted materials without change in status, but in one case staff withdrew an item; in a few cases items were relocated, labelled, or restricted in access. Every complaint was investigated and decisions were guided by thorough research and the Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries.

The annual survey creates a national snapshot of the nature and outcome of challenges to intellectual freedom in publicly-funded Canadian libraries. By documenting and reporting these incidents, Canadian libraries demonstrate their commitment to public accountability and institutional transparency. The survey is open until March 31.

For more information on the survey, please contact Alvin M. Schrader, Survey Administrator 2017, at


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