Fuel Up for the Fight: Resources to Push Back on Censorship Efforts

As campaigns step up efforts to pull books from school and public library shelves, it's critical to have tools to defend titles.

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The coordinated campaigns of individuals and organizations seeking to pull books from the shelves at schools and public libraries continue. It is more important than ever to have the resources and support to fight back.

The ongoing response from educators and community members must be multifaceted—reporting challenges, educating the public, fighting for legislation, and working with like-minded groups around the country to build a network of support. It will not happen quickly, but every effort is vital for the desired goal.

“It takes time to build a response,” says Christopher Finan, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship. “We’re working on a lot of different levels, and it takes time to establish the connections that you need to win the fight.”

The good news is there are a lot of resources and assistance available, but it can be difficult to know where to go first and time-consuming to track down all of the information. With that in mind, we’ve collected it here for one-stop referencing as needed throughout the year.


National organizations

Many national organizations offer resources and support during challenges. Librarians can report a challenge to them to help the groups track the situation, create databases of issues and supporters, and organize the fight for intellectual freedom on multiple fronts. Follow their social media accounts and visit their websites for general information as well as updates on challenges and campaigns around the country.

ACLU, Free Speech
Twitter: @aclu

American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund


Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Council of Teachers of English

PEN America



It may feel inconsequential to sign a petition, and hashtag activism may seem toothless as kids lose access to hundreds of books and hate groups mobilize against the LGBTQIA+ communities and people of color. But the leaders in intellectual freedom organizations insist it all matters. Educating the public is vital as supporting the educators, students, and authors caught in the fight. Building a database of proponents is invaluable for fundraising and get-out-the-vote campaigns, as well as creating local resistance to banning efforts. These campaigns work toward those goals.

Books Save Lives


Unite Against Book Bans


Grassroots organizations

Local, grassroots groups and movements are “more important than ever,” according to Finan. More and more of these organizations are popping up. The groups below model local action, as well as offer resources and information on the censorship attempts and counteractions happening in their area.

Central York Banned Books Club


Florida Freedom to Read Project

Lafayette Citizens Against Censorship

Louisiana Citizens Against Censorship

Moms for Social Justice

NH-V Intellectual Freedom Fighters



What difference does policy make if it is going to be ignored? High school librarian Elissa Malespina says it is still very important to have properly written policies for material selection and reconsideration.

“It’s a legal document,” Malespina told attendees at the SLJ Summit in November. “If they’re not following that policy that is in place, you can sue them, and you will probably win. Having a policy that is specific, that spells things out, that talks in detail about why we need diverse books, why we have regulations in place if you have a problem or censorship issue, that is so important.”

Malespina shared her policy and reconsideration form as models for others:

Resource materials policy

Request for reconsideration form


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Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (kyorio@mediasourceinc.com, @karayorio) is senior news editor at School Library Journal.

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