Create a Book Resume to Help Respond to a Challenge

New Jersey high school librarian Martha Hickson suggests keeping track of reviews, awards, and places where a book has been retained on the shelves to help when the title is challenged in your library.

Click here for the full Gender Queer resume.


When responding to a book challenge, the more information the better. Of course, a solid policy is important, but that is not all that can help.  A book resume can very useful when a challenge comes to your library, New Jersey high school librarian Martha Hickson told attendees at SLJ's Censorship Town Hall on August 30. She began the practice when the inclusion of Fun Home in her collection was challenged by her superintendent in 2019.

Hickson's book resumes include multiple reviews from different sources, awards won, booklists including the work, and news stories from when the book has been challenged but retained on the shelves.

To find out where books have been retained, Hickson looks at censorship and book banning coverage from SLJ and Book Riot. EveryLibrary and PEN America sometimes post about the successful retention of titles as well. Creating a Google search with keywords including "book ban," "censorship," and "school library" (or the book title, if you are building a resume for a specific work) can also be helpful to minimize the time-consuming need to go to many different sources.

Take a look at Hickson's Gender Queer resume and see how to create this resource for titles in your collection.

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