How Book Banning Works

How Book Banning Works: Author’s Note

Cristen Conger, Staff Writer
hsw 2009

Each year, during the last week in September, the American Library Association encourages people to celebrate Banned Books Week. With that in mind, I set out to find out how banning a book works, what types of books ruffle the most feathers and why people would go to the trouble of keeping titles such as "Where's Waldo?" out of kids' and adults' hands.

As a lifelong reader, the topic also was of particular interest to me, remembering my childhood and those weekly trips to the library I used to look forward to. I'd leave loaded down with foot-high stacks of titles. Having studied the First Amendment in journalism school, the article research became a surprisingly nostalgic process at times. But while my personal background steers me toward the more liberal end of the free speech debate, the article sticks to the facts to provide reliable background information to inform, rather than sway, banned books discussions.



  • American Libraries. "Harry Potter Foe Loses Fourth Challenge." June 1, 2007. (April 28, 2008) 2007/june2007/potterfourth.cfm
  • American Library Association. "Kids and Libraries: What You Should Know." 1999. (April 28, 2008)
  • Cornell University Law School. "Obscenity and Prior Restraint." CRS Annotated Constitution. (April 28, 2008) amdt1bfrag3_user.html#amdt1b_hd9
  • Foerstel, Herman N. "Banned in the USA: A Reference Guide to Book Censorship in Schools and Libraries." IAP. 2006. (April 28, 2008)
  • Manzo, Kathleen Kennedy. "Challenged." Education Week. Sept. 27, 2006. (April 28, 2008)
  • McMasters, Paul K. "Libraries & First Amendment." First Amendment Center. Updated November 2006. (April 28, 2008)
  • Shaw, Amy. "Censorship Timeline." Leading Issues Timelines. Winter 2007.