Expurgation of Library Materials (1973)


American Library Association


CSEP Library

Date Approved: 

February 2, 1973

Other Versions: 

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Expurgation of Library Materials

An Interpretation of the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS

Library materials are chosen for their value and interest to the community the library serves. If library materials were acquired for these reasons and in accordance with a written statement on materials selection, then to expurgate must be interpreted as a violation of the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS. For purposes of this statement, expurgation includes deletion, excision, alteration or obliteration. By such expurgation, the library is in effect denying access to the complete work and the full ideas that the work was intended to express; such action stands in violation of Article II of the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS which states that "no library materials should be proscribed or removed from libraries because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval."

The act of expurgation has serious implications. It involves a determination by an individual that it is necessary to restrict the availability of that material. It is, in fact censorship.

When a work is expurgated, under the assumption that certain sections of that work would be harmful to minors, the situation is no less serious. Expurgation of any library materials imposes a restriction, without regard to the rights and desires of all library users.

Adopted February 2, 1973 by the ALA Council.