September 2008 Archives

Briggs Library Banned Books Reading

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Did you know that there were 420 formal challenges to books in school and public libraries last year? And that was only the ones that were reported. The actual number was probably 4-5 times higher. Come celebrate intellectual freedom by attending the Briggs Library Banned Books Reading Event on Tuesday, September 30 in the library McGinnis Room from 7:30 pm-9:00 pm.

Each year since 1982 the American Library Association has sponsored Banned Books Week in an effort to educate the public about the freedom to read. Between 1990 and 2000 there were 6,364 challenges reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, most of them from school and public libraries. Reasons vary for why an item is challenged in a attempt to be banned but the top ones include sexually explicit material, offensive language, unsuited to age group, occult themes, violence, homosexuality and the promotion of a religious viewpoint. Challenges are often motivated by a desire to protect children from inappropriate material. ALA maintains, however, "that parents--and only parents--have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children--and only their children--to library resources."

Don't take first amendment rights and reading choice for granted. Make your own voice heard by attending the Banned Books Reading Event. Hear excerpts from banned books through the years. It's all part of the ALA's annual Banned Books Week Sept. 27-Oct. 4. If you would like to be a reader please contact Kate Novotny by email. The event is sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta and Briggs Library.

Challenged and Banned Books (ALA)

Why Banned Books Week?

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Each year since 1982 the American Library Association has sponsored Banned Books Week in an effort to educate the public about the freedom to read. Between 1990 and 2000 there were 6,364 challenges reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, most of them from school and public libraries. Reasons vary for why an item is challenged in a attempt to be banned but the top ones include sexually explicit material, offensive language, unsuited to age group, occult themes, violence, homosexuality and the promotion of a religious viewpoint. Challenges are often motivated by a desire to protect children from inappropriate material. ALA maintains, however, "that parents--and only parents--have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children--and only their children--to library resources."

Come support first amendment rights and reading choice. Attend the Banned Books Reading Event in the Briggs Library McGinnis Room on Tuesday, September 30 from 7:30-9:00 pm and hear excerpts from banned books through the years. If you would like to be a reader please contact Kate Novotny by email. The event is sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta and Briggs Library.

Frequently Challenged Books

Discussion 1

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Why do individuals attempt to ban a book from a school or public library instead of simply not reading it themselves or instructing their children not to read it? Recently a picture book titled And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson made a big splash and a bit of controversy as well. Tango is a penguin with two daddies. Besides getting rave reviews the book also took the top spot as being the most challenged book in 2007. What are your thoughts about the book?

Librarians, especially those in public and school libraries, are on the front line in the freedom to read war. If a library doesn't order a book or put it on the shelf then a book is effectively banned before anyone has had a chance to even crack the cover. It's not easy. There is a lot of incentive to play it safe and avoid the controversial. Sometimes fighting the good fight can be a lonely business. In my earlier professional life I was a media specialist for a school district. I tried to do what I thought was in the best interests of the children I was servicing. I certainly wasn't perfect and I wasn't always as brave as I wanted to be, but I always thought of the kids first. That's probably why a high school teacher checked out Forever by Judy Blume from the school library and then never returned it because they thought it was inappropriate.

Sometimes book challenges can be positive experiences. The only formal challenge I've ever had to deal with occurred at an elementary school. A parent had a concern over the illustrations in an older edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that to her depicted the oompa loompas in a racist light. What did I do? I bought a more modern, newer edition of the book that would be more attractive to students and thanked her for bringing it to my attention. And yes, I removed the older, worn out title from the shelf.

Do you think there is ever a situation that warrants banning a book or other item from a library?

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2009 is the next archive.

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