Library Complaint and Censorship Records (Newton Free Library)

Chris Peterson filed this request with the Newton Free Library of Newton, 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 State 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


To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on March 12, 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: Phil McNulty

Mr. Chris Peterson

Research Assistant

Center for Civic Media

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dear Mr. or Ms. Peterson,

We are in receipt of your request for information of April 4, 2013 regarding
copies of written or electronic complaints or challenges for removal,
reclassification, or other reconsideration of library materials from January
1, 2010 to the present.

The Newton Free Library has no such documents on file for the indicated time
period. We have a request for reconsideration form which would be used in
such cases, and which would be kept on file as required by the State of
Massachusetts' records retention policies, so my records search would
indicate that no such complaints or challenges have been received.

Please note: your April 4th facsimile references an earlier communication
dated on March 12, 2013. We did not receive any communication at that date.


Philip E. McNulty, Director

Newton Free Library

330 Homer Street

Newton, MA 02459

When responding, please be aware that the Massachusetts Secretary of
State has determined that most email is public record and therefore
cannot be kept confidential.


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