Sunday, September 07, 2008

Book banning alive and well in United States

This press release tells it all ... I wasn't surprised that Miss Congeniality (aka Sarah Palin) is a book burner ... er ... banner.

CHICAGO – Are books like "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," or the Harry
Potter series available at your public or school library? According to the
American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF),
due to book challenges, more than a book a day faces removal from public
access in school and public libraries. Challenges are defined as formal, written
complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed
because of content or appropriateness.

In many cases, it is only through public intervention that books are saved
from confiscation or from being kept under lock and key. This Sept. 27 – Oct.
4, 2008, Americans will celebrate their freedom to read by reading a banned
book during Banned Books Week. This year will mark the 27th annual
celebration of the freedom to read, as thousands of libraries and bookstores
nationwide host exhibits, readings and special events.

For example in Chicago, on September 27, several best-selling authors will
perform readings from banned or challenged books. Participating authors
include Judy Blume, "Forever"; Stephen Chbosky, "The Perks of being a
Wallflower"; Ron Koertge, "The Brimstone Journals"; Newbery Medal winner
and author of "The Giver," Lois Lowry; Lauren Myracle, "TTYL"; Phyllis
Reynolds Naylor, Alice series; and Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, authors
of "And Tango Makes Three," the most challenged book of 2007.

Each year, the OIF receives hundreds of reports on books and other materials
that were "challenged" by people who asked that they be removed from
school or library shelves. There were 420 known attempts to remove books in
2007, and more than 9, 600 attempts since the ALA's OIF began to
electronically compile and publish information on book challenges in 1990.
Unfortunately, it is believed that for every challenge or banning reported to
OIF, there are four to five incidents not reported.

"Banned Books Week is an opportunity for the ALA to educate librarians and
the general public about the importance of intellectual freedom," said (ALA)
President Jim Rettig. "Individuals must have the freedom to choose what
materials are suitable for themselves and their families."

Most book challenges reported to OIF have been reported from schools (71
percent) and public libraries (24 percent). Parents lodged sixty-one percent
of the book challenges, followed by library patrons at 15 percent and
administrators at 9 percent.

"We must remain vigilant to assure that would-be censors do not threaten
the very basis of our democracy – the freedom to choose," said Judith F.
Krug, director, OIF. "Since our society is so diverse, libraries and bookstores
have a responsibility to provide materials that reflect the interests of all of
their patrons."

The "10 Most Challenged Books of 2007" reflect a range of themes, and
consist of the following titles:

·"And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious
Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

·"The Chocolate War," by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

·"Olive's Ocean," by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language

·"The Golden Compass," by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

·"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism

·"The Color Purple," by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

·"TTYL," by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

·"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit

·"It's Perfectly Normal," by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

·"The Perks of Being A Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to
Age Group

Off the list this year are two books by author Toni Morrison "The Bluest Eye"
and "Beloved," both challenged for sexual content and offensive language.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association,
the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the ALA, the
Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and
Authors, and the National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by
the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

5 comments:

SafeLibraries.org said...

False.

See, for example, "Update on List of Books Palin Sought to Ban---'It Is a False Rumor.'":

"I oppose the candidacies of Sarah Palin and McCain because of the platform passed at the Republican National Convention and the failed policies of the Republican party for the past many years. Their policies clearly do not represent change but a continuation of 'business as usual.' However, I am not convinced that she supports the banning of books. ....

"I want to thank the anonymous person who posted the question when I first put up the information about Palin's list of banned books. This is a reminder to myself to be more rigorous about the articles posted on this blog."

Hint. Hint.

pineapple said...

Sarah Palin is a failed book banner. She wanted to ban some books, the town librarian said no. She fired the librarian and then the townspeople were up in arms. Apparently they really liked the librarian. So she re-hired the librarian. When asked about her attempt in book banning? She called it "rhetorical." Nice.

SafeLibraries.org said...

Pineapple:

False.

"Sliming Palin; False Internet Claims and Rumors Fly About McCain's Running Mate," 8 September 2008.

Winston said...

Regarding safelibraries.org. I visited your blog, and you want to ban books from libraries, am I reading some of that correctly? Why would I want to allow you to comment here? Because I don't condone banning books or censoring people.

Hint. Hint.

SafeLibraries.org said...

No, I am against banning books. But a book has not been banned in the USA for many decades. What the ALA calls "banning" is really selection. A community is allowed not to select or to deselect something they feel is inappropriate. And the ALA so loosely uses the words "censor" and "censorship" that ALA members are now casting those words at each other over the ALA political speech in apparent opposition to VP nominee Sarah Palin that may have violated 501(c)(3) tax exemption laws.

Here, let me put it in the words of a former ALA Councilor:

"It also highlights the thing we know about Banned Books Week that we don't talk about much — the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all."

"Totally different," she said. I agree. Frankly, I'll bet you do too.