A third of librarians in the UK have been asked to censor or remove books, according to a report by a leading association in the field.
The report was carried out by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip). According to a statement by the association, there has been a noticeable increase in such requests in recent years.
Books about race and LGBTQ+ themes are the titles with the most requests, according to the research. The research also revealed that over 80 percent of librarians are concerned about these requests.
Cilip’s chief executive, Nick Poole, told The Guardian that the content of libraries has become the center of certain debates.
He said: “Some of the public debate is reaching librarians. We’ve heard reports of requests to remove materials that deal with race and empire and Britain’s colonial heritage. We’ve even had a round table with some librarians who’ve received personal threats of violence around their work on decolonizing collections, or balancing that historical perspective in their collections.”
Lucy Banks, reading development manager at the charity, Libraries Unlimited, also discussed the issue with The Guardian, adding that these libraries should be welcoming spaces.
She said: “We are aware of those wider conversations… we’re really supportive of everyone’s rights, regardless of background, lifestyle, gender or age – we see it as our fundamental job to make our libraries as warm and welcoming for as many people as possible.”
Mr Poole added that books are there to educate and libraries are there to facilitate that education. He said: “Part of our job is to maintain book stock that tells the whole of that story and to be unafraid in telling that story. No librarian should ever be in fear of their wellbeing or safety as a result of doing their job for the public.”
In response to this issue, Cilip has updated its guidance for librarians around managing stock, spaces, and events.
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