Libraries and cultural heritage institutions have long been targets of – and active participants in – the censorship of historic material. Evidence of censorship can be seen in many global collections, including physical defacement or redaction, as well as the creation of segregated collections with restricted access. The practice continues today. As libraries become sites of increased politicization, institutions that steward cultural heritage collections have witnessed an increased pressure to ban books and restrain public displays on a variety of topics. These often include targeted censorship surrounding books and collections by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community, people of color, Indigenous populations, as well as religious and/or political minority groups. The Rare Book & Special Collections Section and Art Libraries Section of IFLA will explore this topic in a full day, hybrid symposium in Barcelona, Spain entitled: Censorship and Heritage Collections on October 8, 2024.

We invite papers on the following themes:

  • Modern and historic tactics of censorship
  • The impact of censorship on cultural heritage institutions and beyond
  • Restricted books and forbidden sections in libraries
  • Collections created by/for censorship
  • Censors’ libraries; i.e. collections created by censors as their own personal libraries, including censored books 
  • Legal challenges to collecting certain kinds of material 
  • Intellectual freedom and collection building/collection strategies

Proposals must be submitted in an electronic format and include the following information:

  • Title and Abstract of the proposed paper (no more than 500 words)
  • Name(s) of presenters, title, and institutional affiliation 
  • Contact information, including email address and telephone number
  • Short biographical statement of no more than 100 words
  • Confirmation that you can present in person if selected

Please note: Presentations should be 20 minutes and must be in English. Presentations will be recorded and translations will be pursued  after the conclusion of the symposium.

Send proposal abstracts (500 words or less) by April 8, 2024 to:

Isabel Garcia-Monge:
Stephanie Stillo: