A Library of the School of EducationDPIUW-Madison School Of EducationUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonUW-Madison LibraryUW-Madison Catalog
About the CCBC
Authors and Illustrators
Recommended Books for Children and Young Adults
CCBC Calendar and Events
CCBC Podcasts
CCBC Publications
Intellectual Freedom

Support the CCBC
Support the CCBC
Are you a...K-12 TeacherLibrarianEarly Childhood Care ProviderUW Student / Faculty

Suggested Steps to Take
When Materials Are Challenged

When an intellectual freedom issue arises, it can be difficult to know how to respond. Each situation a librarian or educator may find themselves in possesses a variety of factors that influence the appropriate protocol. Therefore, rather than assembling a concrete list of dos and don'ts, the suggested steps below are guidelines for maintaining clarity and control in a situation when materials are challenged. These recommendations come from the American Library Association (ALA), the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and the CCBC.

Immediate Steps to Take

  • Review your institution's selection policy, including the selection criteria and the reconsideration process
  • Assess what steps have been taken in the reconsideration process and what steps are to be taken
  • Review the complaint
  • Discuss the situation with your administrator
  • Review your profession's policy statements
  • Gather resources (such as copies of reviews, information on awards and best-of-the-year list distinctions for the title. If you are a Wisconsin teacher or librarian, the CCBC Intellectual Freedom Information Services can assist you with this)
  • Read or re-read the title in question

Additional Steps to Take

Note: These steps may vary, depending on what your policy says and what has happened so far.

  • Maintain the material in the collection for the time being
  • Be prepared to explain the function of the resource
  • Contact the Reconsideration Committee
  • Communicate with the Board of Education or Library Board of Trustees

Challenge Support

The following organizations are prepared to provide information and support during a challenge.

For Wisconsin Librarians and Teachers:

  • CCBC: Intellectual Freedom Information Services
  • For Librarians and Teachers nationally:

  • American Library Association: Office for Intellectual Freedom
  • National Council of Teachers of English: Intellectual Freedom Center
  • Helpful Links:

  • How to Respond to Challenges and Concerns about Library Resources (Including Working with the Media) (ALA)
  • Conducting a Challenge Hearing (ALA)
  • Dealing with Challenges to Graphic Novels (ALA)
  • Rationales for Teaching Challenged Books (from the National Council of Teachers of English)

  • See additional links on our Education and Advocacy Groups page

    book cover
    Book of the Week

    In accordance with the UW-Madison Accessibility Policy, this site makes every effort to comply with the World Wide Web standards defined in the Federal Rehabilitation Act Section 508, specifically subsections 1194.22 and subsection 1194.31. If you need additional resources or have any questions or concerns about this site, please contact the site administrator for more information.
    UW crest