Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




This investigation focused on censorship by librarians in senior high schools in Virginia during the 1985-86 school year. Emphasis was placed on determining the subject matter that the librarians censored, the means by which censorship was exercised, and the factors that were influential in causing these individuals to engage in such activity.;The primary method of securing data for the study was a questionnaire developed by the researcher and mailed to the head librarian in every senior high school in the state of Virginia. Responses were received from 68 percent of those surveyed.;Based on an analysis of the data generated by the survey the following conclusions were reached: (1) the librarians in the study placed restrictions on the acquisition and use of a wide variety of subject matter, with every subject category listed on the questionnaire being restricted in some manner by at least 8.7 percent and as many as 86 percent of the respondents, (2) the librarians were significantly more restrictive with fictional materials than with nonfictional materials; (3) the tactic most commonly employed to control the acquisition and use of controversial materials was to purposely avoid purchasing those materials; (4) there was no relationship between characteristics associated with the librarians or the communities or schools in which they worked and the extent to which these individuals were restrictive; and (5) the librarians' own personal convictions about what should or should not be made available to the users of their libraries were more influential in causing them to censor than were pressures to censor, either real or imagined, that were generated by persons or groups in the school or community.;Based on these findings, a number of recommendations were offered aimed at accomplishing two major tasks: first, insuring that professional preparation programs for school librarians include a strong emphasis upon the importance to American education of the principles of intellectual freedom and the proper procedures for selecting and defending library materials, and, second, establishing within the schools a network of support to insure that in the event of a controversy over library materials, the librarian will not be asked to stand as the lone defender of students' rights to read and to know.



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