Efforts to censor library materials have increased nationally. Tulsa City-County Library (TCCL) supports now and always every individual’s choice concerning what they and their children read. Allowing any individual to dictate these choices for others goes against TCCL’s commitment to open access for all.

Books that have received the most backlash are ones that “mirror the lives of those who are gay, queer, or transgender or that tell the stories of persons who are Black, Indigenous, or persons of color.”(1) TCCL stands against censorship of library materials, especially of items by or about historically marginalized populations.

This censorship conflicts with TCCL’s mission to promote learning and create community-strengthening connections; challenges TCCL’s vision to facilitate an environment where everyone is seen, heard and welcomed; opposes TCCL’s values, which include diverse perspectives and the freedom to know; and inhibits TCCL’s goal of reflecting the communities we serve and ensuring all feel safe and represented in our spaces, collections and resources.

The ALA Bill of Rights states in part that materials “should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation” and should not “be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” The ALA Bill of Rights also maintains that “libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.”

TCCL offers an average of more than 90 programs per month geared toward all ages and interests throughout Tulsa County. (2) TCCL cardholders have access to over 1,298,287 owned materials for free. (3) In supporting the ALA Bill of Rights, TCCL maintains that this vast collection should both serve and represent the diverse individuals that make up Tulsa community.

“TCCL is committed to providing Tulsa County with access to media, ideas, knowledge and new perspectives. TCCL will not waver in serving every individual of every identity and experience, and will keep striving to provide a space that fosters understanding, encourages growth and refrains from judgement.” – Kimberly Johnson, CEO, Tulsa City-County Library.

Learn more about how censorship works against TCCL's mission, values and goals below.

Censorship and TCCL's Mission, Values & Goals

TCCL Facilitates an Inclusive Environment

TCCL’s vision is to facilitate an environment where everyone is seen, heard and welcomed. Book banning works against this vision because in attacking books by and about people of marginalized communities, these people and stories are erased. As a result, these targeted individuals or communities will no longer feel welcome, heard and seen in our library, which prevents them from being reflected and served. TCCL does not want to erase or isolate anyone, and instead aims to promote, uplift and reflect all narratives.

Learn more about TCCL's mission, goals, vision and values here.

TCCL Supports Diverse Perspectives

TCCL values diverse perspectives, and book bans notoriously target stories by or that feature marginalized voices. In their statement on equal access to all individuals, ALA states “libraries and librarians have an obligation to resist efforts that systematically exclude materials dealing with any subject matter, including sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.” Censoring our collection, and thus the ability of individuals to engage with various perspectives, does not align with TCCL’s aim of recognizing the diversity of individuals in our communities and our lived experiences.

Learn more about TCCL's mission, goals, vision and values here.

TCCL Helps Build Strong Communities

TCCL’s mission is to create connections that strengthen our communities. Providing and making accessible library materials in which people see themselves reflected reinforces that those stories and perspectives matter. It also helps share those stories with others who may not have other means of accessing such narratives. Fostering an understanding of different experiences and perspectives is imperative to strengthening Tulsa’s multicultural communities.

Learn more about TCCL's mission, goals, vision and values here.

Collection Management Policies & Procedures

Book Selection at TCCL

Materials selection staff search for materials representing diverse communities, views and expressions, including those which may be unconventional or unpopular with some segments of the community. In selecting materials, the library does not promote any particular belief or view, but offers collections of considerable scope and variety so individuals can examine different sides of issues and make their own decisions.

The evaluation of materials is characterized by flexibility, open-mindedness and responsiveness to changing needs of the library’s customers. General selection criteria includes but is not limited to: relevant of community needs; suitability of subject, style and reading level for intended audience; insight into human and social conditions; and local interest.

Learn more HERE.

Request for Consideration Forms & Processes

Censorship works against TCCL’s diverse collection policies and efforts. The primary task of the Tulsa City-County Library collection is to provide materials which will meet the cultural, informational, educational and recreational needs of the public (Source). In order to do this, TCCL’s collection must be diverse, inclusive and representative of the many perspectives and stories that make up the Tulsa community.

In maintaining the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights, TCCL has established processes of reconsideration. The Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration forms are accessible online at www.tulsalibrary.org/about/policies-and-governance. All reconsiderations are reviewed by a committee of professional staff and an external panel. After the committee makes a recommendation regarding the request, the customer is notified in writing of the Library’s decision.

Additional Resources

Resources for finding and reading banned books

Ways to Support TCCL & Other Libraries

Show Support on Social Media

Use #AccessForAllTCCL to interact with us on social media and tell us about a challenged book you love! Find the top 10 most challenged books each year here from the American Library Association: https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10.

Check out the social media images and infographics available from the American Library Association to show your support online or, if you’re a teacher, print out and share with students! Find them HERE.

Unite Against Book Bans

Unite Against Book Bans is a national initiative from the American Library Association to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship. Learn more HERE.



1 – "The American Library Association opposes widespread efforts to censor books in U.S. schools and libraries", American Library Association, November 29, 2021.
2 – Average of scheduled events for Jan. 2022-May 2022.
3 – TCCL's 2021 annual report.