OIF By the Numbers

Banned and Challenged Books, Censorship, Challenge Reporting, General Interest, Intellectual Freedom Issues, Office for Intellectual Freedom

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this December, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom was founded to “promote and protect the interests of intellectual freedom.” 

With its three distinguished leaders over the half-century, the office has transformed into a thriving resource for librarians when First Amendment rights have been trampled. And we couldn’t have done it without you, the librarians and readers, who call us when there’s a material challenge or hate crime; who create dazzling Banned Books Week displays out of pieces of tape and construction paper; who have altered their selection policies to reflect the changing technological and cultural landscapes. Below are a few stats that highlight the work we’re proud to continue, and the obstacles our team is determined to tackle with your support.

Please consider supporting the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom and Banned Books Week this giving season, and join us in recognizing ALA offices, round tables, divisions and awards. This giving season, your gift to the American Library Association will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $1,000. Learn more about the ALA Annual Fund.


OIF staffAverage number of censorship challenge reports the office receives per week:

Number of hate crimes in libraries tracked by OIF since November 2016: 40

Learn how we revamped our reporting tools and process this year.

Percentage of book challenges that resulted in removals from libraries, schools and curriculum in 2016: 19%

Number of library leaders trained at the joint OIF and OLA Advocacy and Intellectual Freedom Bootcamps: 314

Average number of daily views on the Intellectual Freedom Blog this past year: 435

OIF Director James LaRue at the Newberry Library

The three roles of the office:

Censorship case support

Thought leadership

Leadership development

Most viewed post this year on the Intellectual Freedom Blog: OIF Condemns Government Agency Censorship

“To restrict citizens’ access to information essential to their health because it fails to agree with the political viewpoint of a particular administration is blatant government censorship. Rather than returning power to the American people, such strategies endanger us.”

Number of presentations given by OIF staff in 2017: 54

Banned Books Week display
Photo credit: Amanda Vance

Number of states OIF staff visited in 2017 to inform and train the next generation of advocacy leaders: 21

Estimated number of “Words Have Power” posters displayed for Banned Books Week in 2017: 1,560

Number of months to plan OIF’s Banned Books Week campaign: 11

Number of librarians, students and readers who discussed censorship in the Stand for the Banned Read-Out and Banned Books Week Read-Out: 405

Number of people it takes to make a difference: 1. You.



Support access to information and the freedom to read this giving season.
Make a gift to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and double your impact!
Go to ala.org/donate, select “Offices,” and then “OIF.”

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