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INST 3026: Banned! Case Studies in Censorship and Freedom of Expression

"Don't join the book burners. Do not think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed." Dwight D. Eisenhower


An image of the painting "Saint Paul and the burning of pagan books at Ephesus" by Lucio Massari.  The image shows a number of white men in robes throwing books into a fire.

"Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that some individuals, groups, or government officials find objectionable or dangerous.  Would-be censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove information they judge inappropriate or dangerous from public access, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone.  It is no more complicated than someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it!”" (taken from the American Library Assocation's page on Censorship and the First Amendment).

Censorship by the Numb

Courtright Memorial Library's stance on censorship:

A screenshot of the Courtright Memorial Library's stance on intellectual freedom and the freedom of information and access

The above screenshotted information can be found at the library's website, under Collection Development Policy, here: 2021 Courtright Memorial Library Collection Development Policy (

Recent News on Censorship

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Special Hightlight

The vast majority of challenged and banned books reflect either LGBTQ+ or BIPOC content.  In light of that, I would like to highlight two separate organizations that are working to fight these challenges and ensure equitable and inclusive access to titles in which everyone has an opportunity to see themselves reflected.