Challenged Materials in Colorado Public Libraries, 2003

Each year, the Library Research Service collects data on formally challenged materials as a part of the Colorado Public Library Annual Survey. In 2003, 20 Colorado libraries reported 63 challenges to books, materials, events, and exhibits. The number of challenges represents a reduction from the 70 reported in 2002, although the number of libraries reporting these challenges increased from 16 to 20. The number of materials, events, and exhibits challenges reported in 2003 was slightly below the average of 65 occurrences for the preceding 5-year period (see Chart 1 in full report).


  • Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture by Michael A. Bellesiles was the most challenged title in Colorado’s public libraries during 2003.
  • Three reasons for challenges accounted for nearly half (45%) of reported objections: offensive language, unsuited to age group, and sexually explicit.
  • Young adult materials represented a larger proportion of challenges in 2003 than in previous years.

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This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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