Library Complaint and Censorship Records (Green Meadow Elementary School Library)

Chris Peterson filed this request with the Green Meadow Elementary School Library of Maynard, MA.
Est. Completion None
No Responsive Documents


From: Chris Peterson

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Massachusetts Public Records Law (M. G. L. Chapter 66, Section 10) for a copy of the following records:

Copies of written and electronic complaints and challenges for removal, reclassification, or other reconsideration of publications including books, magazines, movies, websites (e.g. filtered from library computers), or other media from January 1, 2010, to present, as well as records, petitions, and correspondence related to these challenges.

We seek such records as, for example, are classified by the Massachusetts’ Supervisor of Public Records Municipal Records Retention Manual under Section 17.004: Complaint and Censorship Records, though we do not limit our request to those so classified.

According to 950 CMR 32.06(5), every custodian of records is encouraged to waive fees where disclosure would benefit the public interest, as we believe these will. This request is part of a research project by the Center for Civic Media to better understand how and why library materials are challenged in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We are committed to open access and plan to make our findings broadly available to the public. If fees cannot be waived please inform me in advance.

We ask that, if possible, you please respond via email with text documents or clear, high-quality scanned PDFs. If you cannot reply electronically, please mail us the best quality copies you reasonably can. Your efforts helps us ensure broad accessibility and equity.

The statute requires your response to this request within 10 business days. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in helping us better understand this important aspect of the work that you do. Please feel free to email me directly if you have any further questions.


- Chris Peterson
Research Assistant
Center for Civic Media
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

From: Sheila Hayward

Dear Mr. Peterson,

I spoke with a gentleman at the Center for Civic Media regarding your
e-mail. He clarified that you are a graduate student collecting data for an
academic study. However, it is still not quite clear to me what kind of
response you require.

Our school district has a policy on file for challenged books in the
libraries or classrooms. I don't know if it has ever been utilized and if
it has, where the records of these incidents are stored.

School librarians make decisions to "censor" materials on a daily basis
according to appropriateness relative to the particular student population.
I have been a school librarian for 16+ years in Massachusetts but have
never had a book challenged by a staff member, student or family.

Please let me know if there is anything further I can help you with.

From: Chris Peterson

Hi Sheila -

I apologize for any confusion. My request is for records of the policy you describe if and when it has been utilized.

Although the issue you describe of school librarians making decisions is important and interesting, for this project we are primarily focused on petitions for reconsideration.

Does that help?


- Chris


To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on March 19, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Tarah Patino

Dear Mr. Peterson,

Sorry about not responding before- I thought that the e-mail below from my
colleague Sheila Hayward would cover it.

I have never had a book challenged in the two years that I have been a
school librarian, therefore do not have any records to provide you with.


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