The American Library Association is very clear on their stance on banned and challenged books. They have an Office of Intellectual Freedom that educates librarians and the general public about the importance of intellectual freedom in libraries, The Library Bill of Rights states "Libraries should challenged censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment."
This made me think about what a school librarian can do when a book is challenged in their school. First, all teachers should know they have an ally in the school librarian if they should ever have a book they are teaching challenged. Librarians will be your friends in this regard. And if happen to come across one who isn't, find another librarian, because most of us are champions of intellectual freedom. Librarians have been known to get pretty creative in their quest to educate people about banned and challenged books. Just check out ideas for celebrating banned books week on Pinterest if you don't believe me.
So, other than being an ally, what can librarians do? Well, a good librarian should have ready access to policies on bringing a challenge to the school, whether they have their own policy, or one written by the school or district. They can also talk to the parent or community member bringing the challenge with you. Sometimes a person simply needs to know they have been heard and respected. They can also help get to the reason why a book is being banned. I have heard many stories of people challenging books because of something they heard about the book or something on the first page. They haven't even read the whole book they are challenging. A librarian can help get to the bottom of the challenge and be able to help explain why a book is included in the curriculum in the first place.
Books have always been challenged and banned. This problem isn't going away. In fact, as the young adult fiction section grows, often with more titles that are gritty and dark, I imagine there will be even more challenges to books. I always personally hope that when faced with a restriction on what they can read, kids will feel compelled to read the book, even if it hadn't interested them before. You never know, maybe there are more teens finishing The Kite Runner in Asheville than there would have been.