In 2008, School Library Journal conducted a Controversial Books Survey with the purpose of collecting data on censorship in 655 elementary, middle, and high school libraries. The survey focused on three areas of interest: whether content labels were used for controversial books, if there was a restricted section for flagged books, and how often a librarian would avoid buying a book due to its content. The results of the survey revealed that 11% of the schools used content labels, 10% of them had a restricted section, and 87% of librarians passed on books due to inappropriate content.
Recently, School Library Journal gave the same survey to 574 elementary, middle, and high school libraries to obtain more up-to-date data on censorship. The survey reveals that now 24% of the schools use content labels, 28% of them have a restricted section, and 87% of librarians pass on books due to inappropriate content. This increase in self-censorship stems from librarians becoming more cautious with books with controversial material. 29% of those surveyed said they find themselves weighing controversial subjects matters more now than they did a couple of years ago, which they attribute to both books being more graphic and people taking more offense with the content. More than 40% also faced book challenges at school, mainly from parents, and 25% of them said those challenges affected their book-buying decisions.
~Virginia Keating (653-01)