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Expurgation of Library Materials, An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
CHAPTER 4: Library
COMPUTER ID: LS-8
Title: Expurgation of Library Materials, An Interpretation of the
Library Bill of Rights.
Effective Date: 9-22-86
Authorized By: Library Board of Trustees
Date of Last Review: 7-2013
Expurgation of Library Materials
An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
Expurgating library materials is a violation of the Library Bill of Rights
. Expurgation as
defined by this interpretation includes any deletion, excision, alteration, editing, or
obliteration of any part(s) of books or other library resources by the library, its agent, or its
parent institution (if any). By such expurgation, the library is in effect denying access to the
complete work and the entire spectrum of ideas that the work intended to express. Such
action stands in violation of Articles I, II, and III of the Library Bill of Rights
, which state that
"Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those
contributing to their creation," that "Materials should not be proscribed or removed because
of partisan or doctrinal disapproval," and that "Libraries should challenge censorship in the
fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment."
The act of expurgation has serious implications. It involves a determination that it is
necessary to restrict access to the complete work. This is censorship. When a work is
expurgated, under the assumption that certain portions of that work would be harmful to
minors, the situation is no less serious.
Expurgation of any books or other library resources imposes a restriction, without regard to
the rights and desires of all library users, by limiting access to ideas and information. (See
also other Interpretations to the Library Bill of Rights
, including Access to Electronic
Information, Services, and Networks and Free Access to Libraries for Minors.)
Further, expurgation without written permission from the holder of the copyright on the
material may violate the copyright provisions of the United States Code.
Adopted February 2, 1973, by the ALA Council; amended July 1, 1981; January 10, 1990.
- Marathon County Public Library
300 North First Street Wausau WI 54403 USA
Account Status: 715-261-7209 (24/7)