Friday, September 11, 2009

What Banned Book Should You Read?

Every year in September libraries combat censorship by highlighting books that have been challenged or banned somewhere, sometime, for some reason. It turns out our library contains lots of books some people have tried to suppress. Our display will be up for Banned Books Week starting September 26. In advance, here's a little quiz to get you thinking:

What "banned book" should I read?


SafeLibraries said...

No books have been banned in the USA for about a half a century. See "National Hogwash Week."

Also see "US Libraries Hit Back Over Challenges to Kids Books," by Sara Hussein, Agence France-Presse [AFP], 6 September 2009.

Given "American Library Association Shamed," by Nat Hentoff, Laurel Leader-Call, 2 March 2007, I ask anyone reading this to explain why the ALA views book burnings, bannings, and jailed librarians in Cuba as NOT censorship, and why people legally keeping children from inappropriate material IS censorship.

Why does the ALA not only refuse to assist jailed Cuban librarians, but go further and actually thwart efforts by others to assist them? Why should members of the public consider the ALA to be authoritative on the definition of what is censorship in local public libraries?

Indeed, why should local libraries care one whit about an organization actively blocking efforts to assist jailed and beaten Cuban librarians and associated censorship and book burnings?

Jean said...

The post from the organization "Safe Libraries" in response to this thread includes a statement that "No books have been banned in the USA for about half a century". However, if the American Library Association has received 513 reports in 2008 of attempts to have books removed or restricted from readers in libraries (see ) it appears some vigilance about protecting the right of citizens to make their own choices about information may be warranted!

The Hussein article the SafeLibraries folks mention in their post is definitely worth reading as it points out more than one side to the issue of challenges to childrens' books. Not everyone agrees about how much freedom children should have in their reading content, which makes this topic continually of interest. Who should make decisions about what each family's children are allowed to read?

For a detailed update about the ALA response to the Cuban situation mentioned by "Safe Libraries," please see:

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