Some universities have already moved Irving's books into closed access areas, or added disclaimers (!) to them. This is reportedly due to a campaign by Dr Irene Lancaster (who I think is a retired academic) and Dr Rowan Williams, who having retired as Archbishop of Canterbury is now Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.
Two comments on this madness. Firstly it is not as new as Sian Griffiths supposes. Way back in January 1993, on my first day as a library assistant at the University of North London's then Kentish Town library site, I was shown the 'under the counter' books. Sadly this was not a collection of red-hot pornography or studies of illicit sexual practices, but a small collection of books by David Irving. Following a campaign by the Anti-Nazi League (the SWP's then anti-fascist front group, now Unite Against Fascism) the university authorities had taken the books off the shelves. I was given a stern lecture by a senior librarian that this was a terrible mistake and undermined both academic freedom and the nature of a university library. That approach stands the test of time - libraries are by definition places where ideas sit, germinate, breathe and, whether you like or or not, fester. If you want them to be places where only nice, cuddly, safe ideas are to be found, go to a children's library.
Why this issue has flared up again now, having first run over twenty years ago, is unclear. My second comment is motivated by the quote from Irene Lancaster which appears in the Sunday Times. "Leaving this literature on the shelving with inadequate labelling poses a physical threat to the Jewish student and staff body and constitutes a deep insult to the lives of all those who were exterminated in the Nazi holocaust". These presumably include members of the Lancaster family, who we are told died at Treblinka.
Several issues emerge here. Firstly books do not attack people. The ideas in them may or may not inspire people to action, and may or may not inspire people to violence. To function, a democracy has to have a marketplace of ideas. Given the historical fact of the holocaust, it is hard to see how Mr Irving comes out top in that marketplace. Why can he not be defeated in argument? Also, how does putting a sticker on one of his books makes any difference at all?
There is another, less comfortable issue which emerges from Dr Lancaster's fear of violence. The neo-Nazi far-right in Britain is weaker today than it has ever been, be it in electoral terms or in street activism. Who then is providing a threat to Jewish students and staff? If Jews are leaving Europe today because of violence, it is not because of people like David Irving, but because of violence from Islamists. And yet (correctly) we do not seek to purge university library's of material from Sayyid Qutb, Osama bin Laden or a succession of Islamist actors who would happily do to Irene Lancaster what the Nazis did to her Grandmother.
Ideas matter. And they matter too much to give in to selective outrage, in the very place where those ideas need to be digested and discussed.