Suppressing communities: An analysis of LGBTQ+ censorship in libraries


  • Taylor Stevens University of Alberta



Librarians serve as defenders of intellectual freedom and social responsibility, and this includes speaking out against censorship. Censorship of information, materials, and books occurs in the public, but censorship can also occur in libraries themselves. Those impacted the most by this censorship are marginalized communities, such as the LGBTQ+ community. The purpose of this paper is to explore how internal, external and institutional censorship affects the LGBTQ+ community and what librarians can do to uphold their defense against censorship. Internal, or self-censorship, occurs at the librarian level where LGBTQ+ materials may be hidden by librarians or library staff or simply not ordered due to pressure from the community the library serves. External censorship occurs at the community level where the community culture pushes for the censorship of LGBTQ+ materials. Lastly, institutional censorship occurs at the classification level where classification models such as the Dewey Decimal System or subject headings may not provide accurate representation for LGBTQ+ materials. In order to put an end to these forms of censorship, trained and certified librarians must act as agents of change, committing to their due diligence to provide information to all members of their communities.

Author Biography

Taylor Stevens, University of Alberta

I am a current student at the University of Alberta in the final semester of the MLIS program. In my professional life, I am a school librarian who has been employed at École Secondaire Notre Dame High School since January 2016. The MLIS program has given me the resources and knowledge to provide my school community with extensive programming opportunities, a strong research culture, a diverse and inclusive collection, and more. 




How to Cite

Stevens, T. (2020). Suppressing communities: An analysis of LGBTQ+ censorship in libraries. Pathfinder: A Canadian Journal for Information Science Students and Early Career Professionals, 1(2), 51–64.



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