Censorship

Banning "Ex-Gay" books?

A group called Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays says there's an entire community of people across the world whose sexual orientation changed from gay to straight. But they're not getting their message out because libraries refuse to carry literature that describes these experiences or any studies that support them. The group claims that their efforts to find support from ALA's Banned Book Week fell on deaf ears.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,569135,00.html?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a4:g4:r2:c0.000000:b0:z5

The Embattled Librarian of Cheshire

Follow-up on yesterday's story about the potential banning of a book relating the real-life home invasion crime that took place in Cheshire, Connecticut.

Today's blog in the Hartford Courant proposes that the community keep the book ( In the Middle of the Night: The Shocking True Story of a Family Killed in Cold Blood by Brian McDonald) on the shelf and the librarian, Ramona Harten, in charge of the library.

I rise in support of Ramona Harten, the embattled librarian of Cheshire. I understand the pain and outrage that would lead a large group of Cheshire residents to resist the notion of having on their shelves a book written from the point of view of an accused killer. But it's a book. It's quite relevant to the town. It belongs on the shelves. If we ban books because we find them distasteful, we narrow our collective field of vision, and we risk replacing one of our precious freedoms with a popularity contest.

From Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" to Norman Mailer's "Executioner's Song" to several attempts to write fiction from the perspective of Lee Harvey Oswald, mind-of-the-murderer literature seems to have a place in the overall canon. I have no idea whether McDonald's book is any good. Most books like this are not particularly good. But the only way to sort out that question is for interested parties to read it and discuss it.

NC church plans to burn Bibles, Christian books

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an intereesting article today. "NC church plans to burn Bibles, Christian books." The Associated Press
CANTON, N.C. — A North Carolina pastor says his church plans to burn Bibles and books by Christian authors on Halloween to light a fire under true believers.

Pastor Marc Grizzard told Asheville TV station WLOS that the King James version of the Bible is the only one his small western North Carolina church follows. He says all other versions, such as the Living Bible, are "satanic" and "perversions" of God's word.

On Halloween night, Grizzard and the 14 members of the Amazing Grace Baptist Church also will burn music and books by Christian authors, such as Billy Graham and Rick Warren.

Read more about it at: http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/nc-church-plans-to-162911.html?cxntlid=thbz_hm

Web Resources for Banned Books Week

Over at The Resource Shelf Gary Price has posted a HUGE list of Web Resources for Banned Books Week.

Finding Censorship Where There Is None

WSJ:'To you zealots and bigots and false patriots who live in fear of discourse. You screamers and banners and burners. . . ." These are the opening lines of the official Manifesto of Banned Books Week, which starts tomorrow. This annual "national celebration of the freedom to read" is led by the American Library Association (ALA) and co-sponsored by a number of professional associations and advocacy groups. Events and displays at "hundreds" of libraries and bookstores will "draw attention to the problem of censorship" in the U.S.

As the tone of the Manifesto suggests, the sponsors are more interested in confrontation than celebration. The Banned Books Week Readout in Chicago will feature "wildly successful" and "incredibly popular" authors who will "share their experiences as targets of censors." The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression has produced posters, based on a graphic-novel adaptation of "Fahrenheit 451," to help "publicize the hundreds of attacks on books that occur every year in the United States." The ALA has launched an online U.S. "censorship map" to show how pervasive the threat is. -- Read More

Oklahoma Parent’s Questions Stop Author's Visit to School

A visit by a best-selling author to a Norman OK middle school was canceled after a parent questioned the content of one of the author’s books.

Author Ellen Hopkins was scheduled to speak to eighth-graders at Whittier Middle School today about her career, writing process and books.

Hopkins is the author of several New York Times best-selling books for young adults. She was notified Thursday her visit was canceled because a parent at the school requested a review of her book "Glass”.

Ban The Dictionary

One Man's Attempt to get the dictionary removed from schools, and for good reason: "An uncountable number of unacceptable words, of which B*st*rd (p. 45), ev*l*t**n (p. 208), excr*m*nt (p. 210), f**c*s (p. 217), p*n*s (p. 457), s*x (p. 583) and v*g*n* (p. 715) are just a few examples. These are so horrible that you will understand that I cannot write them in full. To expose young minds to such filth is surely to corrupt them for life and to damn them for eternity; Better no 'education' at all than this."

Ellen Hopkins Banned in Oklahoma

Ellen Hopkins, popular YA author of problem novels in verse including Crank and Tricks, reports on her LiveJournal that a visit she was supposed to make to a middle school in Norman, OK was cancelled at the last minute due to parent complaints.

...the school superintendent not only pulled the books for review, he CANCELED my author visit. Wouldn't even allow me to move to the high school. Seriously? What did that parent and he expect me to do? Go in with a live demonstration? Use the f-word? Talk about sex? I mean, you've got to be kidding. I've done hundreds of school visits. Pretty positive I've never corrupted a student. In fact, my talks inspire them. Arm them. Inform them.

Sadie Mattox, librarian/blogger for the Oklahoman newspaper gives us her take on the incident as well.

Twilight Banned At Australian School- Deemed Too Racy

Twilight, though an international bestseller, isn't faring so well in Strathfield, NSW. School administrators and librarians at the Santa Sabina College say the book is too racy for school children to read and have even gone so far to hold seminars on paranormal romance. Librarians have removed the book from the shelves of the school library.

The head librarian, Helen Schutz, says "We wanted to make sure they realise it's fictitious and ensure they don't have a wrong grasp on reality."

More from The Daily Telegraph.

US Libraries Hit Back Over Challenges to Kids Books

From Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON (AFP) – For some it is the heartwarming tale of two male penguins raising a chick together, but children's book "And Tango Makes Three" is also one of the most controversial texts in America, librarians say.

The illustrated book, which is intended to teach young children about gay parents, tops the 2009 list of "most challenged titles" that the American Library Association (ALA) compiles as part of its annual "Banned Books Week."

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The event was first organized in 1982 to highlight the fact "that challenges and banning are still taking place in this country on a regular basis, that books are removed from libraries because a person disagrees with the content," Caldwell Stone said.

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Kleinman, whose website is a clearing house for information about challenging books, insists that he does not want to see books banned, but says there is a legitimate legal basis for restricting children's access to sexually explicit material in libraries.

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Kleinman accuses the ALA of hyperbole in celebrating Banned Books Week. "The whole purpose of Banned Books Week is to provide this kind of misinformation," he said. "The ALA misleads people into thinking that if you keep an inappropriate book from a child that is considered censorship. It is not."

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