Ongoing challenge of homosexual themed books in West Bend, WI

Recent challenges to West Bend Public Library's (West Bend, WI) selection of materials for the children's and young adult collections.


School removes book over its portrayal of logging

Here's a new twist on book challenges: A book about saving forests has been removed from first-grade classes in the Grants Pass School District after complaints about the way loggers are portrayed.

School officials say the decision was made after complaints over material in "Help the Forest" by Rita Crosby.

Public library board in Kansas votes to restrict books

David Lee King helped created a trend on Twitter today with tweets over a book restriction action by his employer. Four books were proposed to be restricted from access by children: Sex for Busy People, The Lesbian Kama Sutra, The Joy of Sex and The Joy of Gay Sex. Local station KTKA has more. A quick scrape in Google News led to a letter to the editor of the Topeka Capital-Journal against the restrictions.

A Lesson From My Father About Objectionable Books

Letter to the editor in the New York Times.

First Banned, Then Unbanned in North Dakota

How often do you think of North Dakota? I'll confess, I haven't thought about it since the primaries....

But author John Berendt, the author of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" a book banned for four days from the Beulah High School library, said the incident made him think about North Dakota for the first time.

Berendt followed every word in Bismarck Tribune news stories and every word posted by the hundreds of people reacting to the story this week.

His 1994 nonfiction book, described as Southern gothic in tone, details a murder in Savannah, Ga. It has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide, remained on the New York Times' Bestseller List for four years and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

It was banned at the request of Beulah parents who, after reading parts of it when their son brought it home in an accelerated reading program, found it pornographic and at odds with what the school promotes for kids.

Berendt said he was as surprised by the accusation of pornography as he was impressed by the "spirited defense," not only of his book, but in opposition to book banning in general, posted by blog contributors and the Beulah High School librarian.

China closes 90 websites as internet crackdown intensifies

China closes 90 websites as internet crackdown intensifies: Nervous Beijing 'determined to quell online dissent' as economic gloom deepens and sensitive anniversaries loom. Some have read that as a shot across their bows, intended to encourage them to take more care in censoring content in general over the year ahead. This year sees the 20th anniversary of the military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests, the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising in Tibet which led to the Dalai Lama fleeing to India, and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic.

Alexie Book Still Spended from Crook Cty Classrooms But Available in the Library

Sherman Alexie's “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is still under suspension by the Crook County (OR) School Libraries. A parent of a 14-year old objected to a description of masturbation in the award-winning YA book (like 14 year-olds don't already know?)

About 60 people turned out Monday night to the Crook County School Board meeting and about 15 testified about the book. The board then voted 4-1 to continue the temporary suspension, while making the book available to students in the library. School Board Chairman Jeff Landaker was the lone vote against the motion to suspend and wait for further review.

“The reason I voted no is because this issue has already taken one month’s time,” Landaker said. “And it’s at a time when, in my opinion, we have more critical issues facing us. We have a financial situation where we’ve had to cut 10 days off the school year and are facing a million-dollar budget shortfall next year. Now, it’s going to take two month’s time to address this, and I think we need to move on.”

Report from the Bend Bulletin.

"New OIF Blog Deletes Free Speech"

Mr. SafeLibraries stopped by to mention a new post he wrote. A brief excerpt:

The American Library Association 's [ALA] so-called Office for Intellectual Freedom [OIF] has a new OIF blog (http://www.oif.ala.org/oif/). For a few days, the new blog contained a means for commenting just like most other blogs. I know because I used it to respond to an existing comment—to no avail, as it turned out. Days after the blog was launched, the ALA removed the comment feature from the blog and removed at least one existing comment.

With ability to leave comments excised, the "blog" is little more than an organized collection of OIF pronouncements. For example, here is the most recent blog post: Code of Ethics 70th Anniversity Celebration at Midwinter. It's dated yesterday, January 9, after the date of the promised new blog, yet it does not allow for any comments: "Responses are currently closed.... Comments are closed."

Viewing Filtering From The Outside

When library professionals get together and talk internet filtering, we often forget something vitally important. Sure we talk about freedom of access, how filtering supposedly coincides with collection development policies, and how to protect our patrons and such like.

One thing that seldom gets brought up, at least in conversations I've been privy to is "So, what do our patrons actually think about our filtering?" And it's kind of rare to see any input from the outside, you know, from the people we're actually supposed to be serving.

Twanna Hines is not a librarian. She's a Funky Brown Chick. She's a writer, an occupation I think we can all say we know something about. She lives in New York City and writes about dating, sex, and relationships. And as a patron, she was appalled to find out that the New York Public Library filters her site.

I have to wonder, how many of us can access the above links at work? And does it say anything about filtering when some of us might have to go home to read about what people think about filtering?

Modern (and Raunchy) Swedish Bible Censored In US

It wouldn't be the first time the Bible was censored.

But it is probably the first time that the Bible has been published serially, in a sort of magazine format, with somewhat sexually explicit pictures. Then there was the homoerotica...

Yeah, it should surprise no one that this didn't work out too well in the "land of the free."

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