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Cambridge University blacklists 'harmful books'


The University of Cambridge is reportedly asking staff to flag books deemed as “problematic”.

The library, with over 10 million books, is asking lecturers to blacklist books that might be “offensive/harmful” so librarians can compile a list.

A note sent to colleges by the University Library sets out plans to forge guidance on how to deal with potentially problematic books.

“We would like to hear from colleagues across Cambridge about any books you have had flagged to you as problematic (for any reason, not just in connection with decolonisation issues), so that we can compile a list of examples on the Cambridge Librarians intranet and think the problem through in more detail on the basis of that list,” a message seen by the Sunday Telegraph said.

The note also encouraged those who have similar measures in place in their individual college libraries to send over any details to a “decolonisation” email address.

Pembroke College told staff in an email last week: “The University Library is currently compiling examples of offensive/harmful books and has asked me to circulate [this].

“The intention is to put together some guidance for supporting librarians obliged to work with such materials, as well as working to better support readers.”

However, the Library refused to reveal which books when asked by the Telegraph.

A spokesperson for the University Library rejected the claims, stating: “[We] do not censor, blacklist or remove content unless the content is illegal under UK law.

“We engage in dialogue with colleagues to help us continue to have open and honest discussions with readers about what we collect and why.”