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A number of industry organizations are beginning to rally to the defense of the Harry Potter titles, which, according to the American Library Association, were the most frequently banned books last year.
The focal point for the industry initiative is the actions taken last November by Gary Feenstra, the superintendent of Zeeland, Mich., public schools, who prohibited the Potter titles from being read in classrooms and limited access to the books by placing them in the school library where students could only check them out with parental permission. In addition, Feenstra ruled that the district would not buy any forthcoming additions to the series.
Late last month, the ALA, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the National Council for Teachers of English all wrote letters to the superintendent asking him to rescind his policy. Of particular concern to the organizations, as well as to a group of teachers in the school district, is that when Feenstra banned the books from the classrooms, he did not follow the guidelines established by the district to deal with controversial materials.
Chris Finan, president of ABFFE, said that while the association \"doesn\'t usually get involved with school cases, booksellers felt so strongly about the Potter titles, they felt we needed to take some action.\"