MN Library is pressed to take gang force report off Web

Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The legislative library rebuffed demands by police lawyers who argued that the public document should be removed because it names undercover officers.

"It was pretty amazing," said Library Director Robbie LaFleur. "I have been here 20 years, and no one really has questioned these publicly available reports before."

New Spin On Censorship? These Books Are A Threat To Public Safety

Here's a follow up on The Jessamine County Library story (that's the place the firing of two library workers for allegedly taking matters into their own hands to prevent what they regarded as obscene material from getting into the hands of children.)

Director Critchfield can not talk about the firings, but he did say he was surprised Tuesday to receive a petition saying The Black Dossier and 3 other books represent a threat to public safety.

The petition reads in part, "This community is known to have sexual predators, and works such as these encourage those predators to act out their desires or at the very least justify their desires."


Library employees fired over censorship of graphic novel

Library employees fired over censorship of graphic novel: It has become a question of what public libraries are enshrined to do, what role they are to play in monitoring children and whether they get to decide what people get to read.

What complicates this is that the graphic novel in question meets no standard of obscenity by the law.

Self-Appointed Censor at Tennessee Library

According to the Daily Herald, someone has been crossing out dirty words in books, and employees at the Maury County (TN) Library aren’t happy about it.

“It bothers me because nobody is holding a gun to their head making them read these books,” said Elizabeth Potts, director of the county library. “If they don’t like them, they should just return them.”
Library Director Elizabeth Potts shows one of several books which have had “dirty” words marked through. Others have editorial comments added.

2 Librarians Fired For Refusing Book To 12 Year Old

Two Nicholasville librarians are fired for not allowing a kid check out a book. The women say the book contains pornographic material inappropriate for children.

The two women say they were fired last month when they wouldn't let a young girl check out a book from The League of Extraordinary Gentleman series. Now, both women say they're less concerned with their jobs and more concerned with keeping material like this out of children's hands.
[Thanks Dan!]

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.

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.



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