Censorship

Banned Book Week is A-Comin'

For Banned Books Week, which will be held September 24-October 1 this year, readers, booksellers and librarians around the world can participate by posting videos of themselves reading from their favorite banned books on a special YouTube channel. Excerpts may be up to two minutes long, and people who talk about battles defending banned or challenged books make speak for up to three minutes.

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is encouraging booksellers to film their customers as part of this effort and will provide instruction on how to create the videos. Booksellers can send the videos to ABBFE, which will edit them, add store names and logos and post them. The videos will be tagged so that stores can put them on their websites, blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

ABFFE is also helping booksellers participate in more traditional ways: its Banned Books Week handbook offers tips on promotions, including making displays, as well as listing posters that can be downloaded and reproduced at copy shops. The American Library Association has promotional information, too.

"Banned Books B.S."

Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of National Review Online, has some harsh words for Banned Books Week and for the American Library Association itself too.

(h/t)

Making Room for Readers

From The Millions, an excellent article by Steve Himmer:

One recent morning, my almost four year old daughter started crying out of the blue. I asked her what was wrong, and she wailed, “I don’t have a library card!” So with a proud paternal bibliophile’s heart swollen in my chest, I strapped her into her car seat and we set off for the library in search of a library card and — at her request — in search of Tintin books like those I’d told her were my favorite stories at the library when I was young.

We went first to the branch library in our end of town, a small, round building with walls almost entirely of glass. All those windows, and the books behind them, make it look pretty inviting, and we parked our car in the lot and I held my daughter’s hand as she skipped to the door, bubbling over with excitement. Unfortunately, it was closed; I’d known municipal budget cuts had reduced the hours of all library branches, but I’d thought that only meant it was closed on Fridays. Instead, it meant this branch — and all others, apart from the main library downtown — were open only a couple of hours four afternoons through the week. No mornings, no evenings, no weekends. -- Read More

Vonnegut Library: we just want you to read it and decide for yourself

"The KVML will be giving away free copies of Slaughterhouse Five to students from Republic, Missouri’s high school (yes, the school that banned Slaughterhouse Five last week from their curriculum and school library). If you are a student at Republic High School, please e-mail us to request your free copy of the book. Please provide us with your name, address, and grade level. We have up to 150 books to share, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor. We think it’s important for everyone to have their First Amendment rights. We’re not telling you to like the book… we just want you to read it and decide for yourself. We will not share your request or any of your personal information with anyone else."

2 books pulled from school library because they teach principles contrary to the Bible

Two of the three Republic High books singled out in a public complaint last year will now be removed from the school curriculum and library.

Shortly before 9 p.m. Monday, the school board voted 4-0 -- three members were absent -- to keep Laurie Halse Anderson's "Speak," an award-winning book about date rape, and remove Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" and Sarah Ockler's "Twenty Boy Summer."
Wesley Scroggins, a Republic resident, challenged the use of the books and lesson plans in Republic schools, arguing they teach principles contrary to the Bible.

Two books pulled from Republic school library shelves

REPUBLIC, MO -- Two of the three Republic High books singled out in a public complaint last year will now be removed from the school curriculum and library.

Shortly before 9 p.m. Monday, the school board voted 4-0 -- three members were absent -- to keep Laurie Halse Anderson's "Speak," an award-winning book about date rape, and remove Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" and Sarah Ockler's "Twenty Boy Summer."

Wesley Scroggins, a Republic resident, challenged the use of the books and lesson plans in Republic schools, arguing they teach principles contrary to the Bible.

Story here.

Mother wins appeal to have 'poo poo head' book removed from school library

The poo poo hit the fan for Texan Tammy Harris when she realised her son, 6, was suspended from school for saying a phrase that could be found in one of the school's library books.
Mrs Harris filed a complaint with the Brown Elementary School to have a book removed from the library shelves.
The book, 'The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby' contained the phrase 'poo poo head.'

On Censorship Art and WikiLeaks

Censorship is not just about forbidding discussion of certain facts or limiting the freedom of thought. Our very patterns of thought, emotions, and beliefs can be molded in ways beyond our control, both directly and indirectly. Censorship is indirectly imposed through instilling feelings of guilt and fear through the media and institutions of society. For these reasons, censorship is a violation of human rights. Political discourse and artwork have been subjected to censorship in the same ways for thousands of years.

There are many examples of censorship imposed on artworks of all kinds including books, movies and plays. Sharing a few here will show how censorship can become irrational.

Censorship Moves West

Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, writing at al-Jazeera English, notes that Internet censorship is moving westward and becoming a more mainstream notion in various countries.

Key quote:

Most problematically, setting a precedent of blocking websites simply makes it that much easier for a government or ISP to extend filtering as they wish.

Writers Write About Censorship

Excerpt from "Places I Never Meant To Be" Original Stories By Censored Writers; Edited and Introduction by Judy Blume. Blume tells the story of how she circumnavigated the naysayers to read her first book by John O'Hara. Not a new title (2001), but definitely one worth reading.

From the Introduction: When I was growing up I’d heard that if a movie or book was “Banned in Boston” everybody wanted to see it or read it right away. My older brother, for example, went to see such a movie -- The Outlaw, starring Jane Russell -- and I wasn’t supposed to tell my mother. I begged him to share what he saw, but he wouldn’t. I was intensely curious about the adult world and hated the secrets my parents, and now my brother, kept from me.

A few years later, when I was in fifth grade, my mother was reading a novel called A Rage to Live, by John O’Hara, and for the first time (and, as it turned out, the only time) in my life, she told me I was never to look at that book, at least not until I was much older. Once I knew my mother didn’t want me to read it, I figured it must be really interesting! -- Read More

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