LRS’s latest Fast Facts report summarizes the results of our annual investigation into the materials and resources challenged in Colorado’s public libraries. This report details the number, type, and reasons for the challenges reported in the 2018 Public Library Annual Report. The information that public libraries provided about these challenges helps us track the attitude towards intellectual freedom in Colorado now and over time.
Public libraries reported 43 challenges to materials or resources in 2018, nearly the same as the number reported last year (41). The number of reported challenges has dropped since 2008, although the numbers of challenges reported in 2017 and 2018 were close to double what was reported in 2016.
Like in previous years, adult materials were challenged more often than children’s and young adult (YA) materials. Two-thirds (67%) of the materials challenged were intended for adults. About 1 in 5 challenges were toward both children’s (21%) or YA (21%) materials. Over half (54%) of the challenges resulted in no change to the materials or resource, and a little less than 1 in 5 (17%) challenges were dropped by the challenger. “No change” has been the most common result for a challenge since 2008.
The top reason for a reported challenge was “Unsuited to Age Group,” making up nearly 2 in 5 (38%) challenges. “Other” (33%) replaced “Sexually Explicit” (29%) for the second most common reason for a challenge. Violence (21%), Insensitivity (21%), and Homosexuality (8%) finished out the top six reasons for a challenge in 2018.
For more results from the Public Library Challenges Survey, check out the 2018 Challenged Materials in Public Libraries Fast Facts report. And, more information about intellectual freedom issues in libraries can be found here.
Note: This post is part of our series, “The LRS Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.