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ENGL 214: BANNED BOOKS (HOSTETLER, FALL 2015): Finding the challenges

Step by step guide to finding source material for challenges

1) Read through the Researching Banned and Challenged Books webpage.

2) As the page above suggests, I highly recommend that you look through "Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read" by Robert P. Doyle.  This book is on reserve in the library.  Find your book / a book and copy down the index of challenges listed in the book.  Here is what an entry may look like.  UPDATE: Unfortunately, our copy of this book was stolen.  We are in the process of ordering a new copy.  In the meantime, please consult the ALA year by year list of banned books found here.  Please read through a couple of years to check if your novel is listed. 

3) With your list of challenges, look through the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom.  The Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom contains the most comprehensive and systematic record of challenges and banned books in the United States.

4) Once you read about a case or two, pick a more recent case and search one of the newspaper sources (listed below) to see if there was a local article written about cases.  Chances are there was not, but if the challenge to or banning of a book took place within the context of a public library, there may be detailed meeting minute notes pertaining to the incident.  If worse comes to worse, you can always interview the director of the library for more details about the challenge / books banning. 

Lexis Nexis

Lexis Nexis

BEFORE you search....

  • Click on "Advanced Options"
  • Limit to just "Newspapers"
  • Type in title of the book (put the book in quotes) example ... "the bluest eye"

AFTER your results load ...

  • Look for relevant articles (you will probably get too many results)
  • Narrow your search by searching again in the "Search within results" box in the upper right hand corner
  • Words to use (only search one at a time) ... banned, bans, censored, censors, challenged, challenges



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