Censorship

Author Maureen Johnson Responds to Censorship Attempt in Video on YouTube

In June 2009, two Leesburg, FL mothers went on television and petitioned to have Maureen Johnson's YA novel The Bermudez Triangle removed from the YA section of the library. A Leesburg library advisory committee voted to keep the book (in addition to a book from the Gossip Girl series that was also challenged) on the YA shelves.

Author Johnson composed a video response to the censorship attempt. It includes a thank you to librarians for resisting censorship and fighting to provide teens with access to materials they want--and may even need.

(story via I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?)

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Library of Congress Staff Target of Threats

Former Army reservist Lynndie England, a symbol of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, was set to discuss her biography Friday at the Library of Congress as part of a veterans forum on Capitol Hill, but her lecture was canceled after several staff workers received threats, according to the Associated Press.

More here.

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Victory for LGBT Websites in Tennessee School Districts

NPR's Andy Carvin reports from "All Tech Considered"...

The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that they have settled out of court with two Tennessee school districts sued on behalf of local students for blocking classroom access to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Web sites. The lawsuit, as we reported last May, alleged that Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and Knox County Schools violated the rights of three students by denying them access to LGBT sites, yet continued to allow access to sites that advocated "reparative therapy" programs that attempt to change a person's sexual orientation.

As part of the settlement, the school districts agreed to unblock the LGBT Web sites. If the districts re-block the sites at any time, the ACLU says it will bring the case back to court.

Library Association Abandons Principle, Allows Censorship

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<a href="http://www.investigativeproject.org/1101/library-association-abandons-principle-allows">Library Association Abandons Principle, Allows Censorship</a> by Steven Emerson IPT News July 21, 2009 "Appel told Rehab, according to sources close to the situation, that she wanted to disinvite Spencer, but would be accused of censorship if she did so. The indirect method was a face-saving solution."

Library fight riles up city, leads to book-burning demand

A fight over books depicting sex and homosexuality has riled up a small Wisconsin city, cost some library board members their positions and prompted a call for a public book burning. Outside West Bend, the fight caught the attention of some old folks, who, with three other Milwaukee-area men, filed a claim against West Bend calling for one of the library's books to be publicly burned, along with financial damages.

The four plaintiffs -- who describe themselves as "elderly" in their complaint --- claim their "mental and emotional well-being was damaged by [the] book at the library."

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Panel on Islam Cancelled at ALA

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At the ALA Conference in Chicago, the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) planned a panel discussion "Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping" on Sunday: 7/12/2009 Their announcement read: "Islam is not new in America; over 40% of the Muslims in America are African-Americans. The change is within the Muslim immigration trend, that's grown 38 fold over the past three decades.

Stars and Stripes accuses U.S. military of censorship in Iraq

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Stars and Stripes, the newspaper that receives U.S. military funding to help it cover and get distributed free to American forces in war zones, complained Tuesday of censorship by military authorities in Iraq. A soldier with the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division patrols the streets of eastern Mosul, Iraq, on June 16. In a story on its Web site, the newspaper known as Stripes said the military violated a congressional mandate of editorial independence by rejecting a request to embed reporter Heath Druzin with the U.S.

Washington Supreme Court hears case on Internet filters

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether it's constitutional for public libraries to refuse to disable their Internet filters for adults who want access to sites that have been blocked.

Full story here.

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Filtering in Washington State

From The Seattle Weekly:

Tomorrow, the State Supreme Court will hear Bradburn v. North Central Library Region (NCLR). The North Central Library Region is a system spanning Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, and Okanogan (WA) counties. Like other library systems that receive federal funds for Internet access, the NCLR is required to have the ability to block minors from seeing materials deemed "harmful" to them. Typically, libraries disable those filters at the request of adults.

Nevertheless, the NCLR has instead decided that it will judge the merits of each adult's request to disable the filter. This, says the ACLU, "hampers adults in researching academic assignments, locating businesses and organizations, and engaging in personal reading on lawful subjects." ACLU spokesperson Doug Honig says that the majority of requests to lift the filter has been denied.

The organization sent out a partial list of sites that have been blocked by the filter:

* The website of an organization encouraging individuals to commit random acts of kindness
* The Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra website
* The website of an organization encouraging women to carry to term by creating "a supportive environment for women in crisis situations to be introduced to the love of Christ"
* YouTube

A teen book burns at the stake

Francesca Lia Block, an award-winning author of young-adult books (the "Weetzie Bat" series among them), has known for a while now that one of her novels, "Baby Be-Bop" is at the center of a controversy in West Bend, Wis.

A few days ago, she found out that it might be burned at the stake. "Baby Be-Bop" is on a list of titles that a local group calling itself the West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries objects to seeing in the public library. In February, the group asked the library's board to remove a page of recommended titles about gay and lesbian issues for young people (including "Baby Be-Bop") from the library's Web site. Then they demanded that the books be moved from the youth section of the library and placed with the adult collection, "to protect children from accessing them without their parents' knowledge and supervision."

Full story at Salon.com

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