I’m a Librarian Who Banned a Book. Here’s Why.

While we now have several trivial and frivolous national events such a as National Coffee Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day, events that bring attention to real issues – like Banned Book Week – are too often overlooked.

Ultimately, a banned book cuts at the heart of what makes a free democracy work. As Noam Chomsky said during a 1992 BBC interview, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

From I’m a Librarian Who Banned a Book. Here’s Why.


Rising to the Challenge: How the Book Internet Delivered

It is not, nor will it ever be, one parent’s duty to parent for the entirety of a group of children. Their job is to watch their child an their child alone. In the instance of Some Girls Are, one parent managed to get a book pulled as an option from a list because she felt it was “smut.” Where it would make sense to tell her child to instead read a different book, she could find no peace in that. She wanted this book removed as an option for all readers.

From Rising to the Challenge: How the Book Internet Delivered

Harris Poll: Number of Americans Who Support Book Banning Increases

Harris Poll: Number of Americans Who Support Book Banning Increases

From The Guardian: "Are Americans Falling in Love with Censorship?

"[A] Harris poll of 2,244 US adults was released in July, revealing that, in the space of four years, the percentage of Americans believing that some books should be completely banned has increased by more than half. In 2011, 18% of those surveyed wanted some books banned; in 2015, 28% agreed with the assertion. Just under a half, 48%, said that no books should be banned, compared with 56% in 2011."

More in-depth breakdowns at The Guardian and Harris.

Gay-themed children's book challenged in North Carolina school

One grandparent, Lisa Baptist, said the book is inappropriate for young students. "I've been called a racist. I’ve been called a bigot, and I am none of those things," she said. "This is nothing more than bringing homosexuality into a school where it does not belong."

From Gay-themed children's book challenged in North Carolina school - LA Times

Life Is Triggering. The Best Literature Should Be, Too.

That’s why one of college’s most important functions is to learn how to hear and deal with challenging ideas. Cocooning oneself in a Big Safe Space for four years gets it exactly backwards. “Safety” has been transformed by colleges from “protection from physical harm” to “protection from disturbing ideas.”

From Life Is Triggering. The Best Literature Should Be, Too. | The New Republic

Strategic, timely censorship

In September of last year, Chinese authorities announced an unorthodox standard to help them decide whether to punish people for posting online comments that are false, defamatory, or otherwise harmful: Was a message popular enough to attract five hundred reposts or five thousand views? It was a striking example of how sophisticated the Chinese government has become, in recent years, in restricting Internet communication—going well beyond crude measures like restricting access to particular Web sites or censoring online comments that use certain keywords. Madeline Earp, a research analyst at Freedom House, the Washington-based nongovernmental organization, suggested a phrase to describe the approach: “strategic, timely censorship.” She told me, “It’s about allowing a surprising amount of open discussion, as long as you’re not the kind of person who can really use that discussion to organize people.”

Full article - The World Cracks Down on the Internet


Blog post about Amazon hiding nonfiction books

Excerpt: The problem with Amazon’s market share isn’t just commercial, it is political. It is a legitimate topic of public concern. If Hachette chooses not to publish a book, even for political reasons, there are four other mammoth publishers and hundreds if not thousands of others that can bring it to the public. If Amazon chooses to bury a title, half the book buyers will not see it when they’re shopping for books. In my opinion, that’s not good for our democracy. I think this is a much more important question than how the pie is divided among author, publisher, and retailer.


Side note: If you are worried about Amazon censoring books be aware they are censoring monster erotica. Link to "On the Media" radio piece about this: http://www.onthemedia.org/story/amazons-war-bigfoot-erotica/


An Alleged Ban

Is it Band (sic) Books Week yet? I’m not sure, and the propaganda is so hyperbolic I don’t have the heart to read it to find the dates. Anyway, let’s see if the Band Book people mention this very odd case.

Full piece here:


It's Banned Books Week!

Tell us what your library is doing to celebrate.

Singapore Library Pulls Books About Gay Couples

Where is it illegal to chew gum and/or be in a gay relationship? Singapore of course.

Story from NPR's The Two-Way Blog , interpret the name of the blog as you see fit.

The two books are And Tango Makes Three, inspired by two real male penguins who hatched an egg together, and The White Swan Express, about four couples — one of which is a lesbian couple — who travel to China to adopt baby girls. The books will be pulped, according to Time Magazine.


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