restricted access “The Books Will Still Be in the Library”: Narrow Definitions of Censorship in the Discourse of Challengers

One of the many areas of conflict between challengers and professional librarians centers on the definition of censorship. Challengers often employ a definition that maintains that banning materials is the only true form of censorship, while the codified definition of censorship within librarianship is concerned with impediments to access. Through analysis of arguments in the West Bend (WI) challenge case, this article explores three themes in challengers’ narrow definitions of censorship found in their discourse. First, challengers argue that moving books within the library is not considered to be censorship. Second, they maintain that labeling books for content is also not a form of censorship. Finally, challengers focus on “common sense” actions and the power of the majority in their arguments to impede access to controversial materials.