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Oregon Intellectual Freedom Clearinghouse (OIFC)

Address Current Challenges

As with any public service, libraries receive complaints. One of our responsibilities is to listen in a respectful and fair manner. The complaints that librarians often worry about most are those dealing with library materials, privacy and the internet. The key to successfully handling these complaints is to be sure the library staff and the governing authorities are all knowledgeable about the complaint procedures and their implementation. From "Challenge Support", American Library Association, December 8, 2016.

Some suggested ways to respond to challenges:

  • Listen, smile, be open and positive, and try to stay calm.
  • Thank the patron for sharing their concern.
  • Avoid being overly apologetic, defensive, or giving a mini-lesson on intellectual freedom.
  • Provide information about your library’s policies.
  • Provide information about the Freedom to Read StatementLibrary Bill of Rights, and any interpretations that relate to their particular concern.
  • Provide information about your library’s reconsideration procedures.
  • Inform your supervisor, manager, or director of the incident so the school/library can be prepared if they have to deal with any further actions of the concerned patron, the public, or media.
  • Report the challenge to the Oregon Intellectual Freedom Clearinghouse.