Challenging Book Challenges: Understanding the Background, Examining “Astroturfing” as a Current Political Strategy, and Finding Ways Forward

Deborah H. Charbonneau, Suliman Hawamdeh, Shannon M. Oltmann, Joseph Winberry, Jieun Yeon, Andrew Zalot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Challenges to books in libraries have sharply escalated from 2021—present. While currently concentrated in the U.S, book bans are becoming widespread globally; these challenges often adapt strategies honed in the U.S., such as astroturfing. In this context, astroturfing refers to an illusion of grassroots organizing, in which national, elite-led organizations covertly coordinate local actions. Astroturfing is another manifestation of mis- and disinformation which ends up stoking fires of partisanship and discontent. In this panel, we will examine book bans, astroturfing, and solutions to these challenges, from several distinct yet interrelated perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-757
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Shannon M. Oltmann is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Science at the University of Kentucky. She obtained her Ph.D. from Indiana University. Her research interests include information ethics, censorship, intellectual freedom, public libraries, privacy, and qualitative research methods. Oltmann is an Associate Editor of . She recently published a book, , and her most recent book, , will be released in 2023. Oltmann's work has been funded by the American Library Association and the Institute of Museum & Library Services. She has presented her research at numerous academic conferences and published widely. Library Quarterly Practicing Intellectual Freedom in Libraries The Fight Against Book Bans: Perspectives from the Field

Publisher Copyright:
86 Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology | Oct. 27 – 31, 2023 | London, United Kingdom. Author(s) retain copyright, but ASIS&T receives an exclusive publication license.


  • astroturfing
  • Censorship
  • disinformation
  • intellectual freedom
  • politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (all)
  • Library and Information Sciences


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