Mass. libraries strikingly free of censorship

A Boston library patron asked that “Thug-A-Licious” be moved to the adult section.
A Boston library patron asked that “Thug-A-Licious” be moved to the adult section.

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The battle to take books off library shelves is still under way in places like Randolph County, N.C., where the school board recently banned a 1953 National Book Award winner for its depiction of rape and incest. Last year alone, librarians across the country reported 464 requests to ban or restrict access to books.

But none in Massachusetts.

A new survey of records at 1,200 school and public libraries in Massachusetts shows fewer than 20 libraries have faced even a single challenge to their collections since 2010, and only twice did librarians agree to put a book out of easy reach of children.

In fact, many of the librarians contacted by MIT researchers had to dig deep into their archives to find public requests for censorship: Malden librarians found a 1948 request from a teacher for librarians to stop lending comic books to her sixth grade students.

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