Censorship

Censorship

Drive to ban library books with LGBTQ content erupts in Orange City

More than 300 people have signed a petition to either ban or label and group materials related to homosexual and transgender content in the Orange City Public Library.

Rev. Sacha Walicord of Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church rose before an overflow crowd of more than 100 at the Orange City Public Library Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday and said that LBGTQ books and other library content are “pushing an agenda” that is counter to those in the faith community.

“We won’t roll over,” he said. “We will stand up and we will fight.”

Others defended the selections, saying that a library is a place of diverse ideas and that library patrons are free to choose what to view or ignore.

Full article (Des Moines Register)
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Egyptian President Closing Libraries

To Kill A Mockingbird Pulled From Reading List

CBS NEWS reports that a school district in Missippi has pulled Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird from a junior high reading list as the discussion of race “makes people uncomfortable.”. The book remains in libraries (fortunately).

What do protests about Harry Potter books teach us?

According to scholar Christine Jenkins, people who try to censor texts often hold a set of false assumptions about how reading works. One of those assumptions is that particular literary content (like positive portrayals of witchcraft) will invariably produce particular effects (more witches in real life). Another is that reactions to a particular text are likely to be consistent across readers. In other words, if one reader finds a passage scary, funny or offensive, the assumption is that other readers invariably will do so as well.
From What do protests about Harry Potter books teach us? - Salon.com

Your Child Should Read Banned Books

From pediatrician Perri Klass via the New York Times, why children should read banned books, and some recommendations.

ALA warns Members it is "Concerned" about Trump Administration

From Central NY News:

Statement from ALA Prez Julie Todaro confirms that she is concerned how core values of free access, intellectual freedom and privacy will fit with the president elect Donald Trump's administration. [aren't we all]

"It is clear many of those values are at odds with messaging or positions taken by the incoming administration."

Will this statement soften the blow of Todaro's statement on November 15? (reprinted below):

“We are ready to work with President-elect Trump, his transition team, incoming administration and members of Congress to bring more economic opportunity to all Americans and advance other goals we have in common.”

How Banning Books Marginalizes Children

When librarians and teachers reject works that may be “emotionally inappropriate” for children (a common reason), they’re adhering to the traditional and mostly prevailing view that children’s literature should avoid controversial topics. It’s understandable that adults want to minimize children’s anxiety, and schools are often under intense social and financial pressure to maintain established standards. But it ‘s also important to recognize that this tradition was established in the 19th century to serve the needs of the white, wealthy Protestant producers and consumers who have dominated the field of American children’s literature for much of the past 200 years.
From How Banning Books Marginalizes Children - The Atlantic
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Controversial books added to VA County Schools reading list

Chesterfield County Schools decided today to leave their summer reading list the way it was, even with the books that some parents were calling inappropriate. Just last month, the school system pulled three books off of their reading list to be reviewed, but based on the recommendation from a committee, the school decided to keep the books on the list.
From Controversial books added to Chesterfield County Schools reading list | WRIC

Curbs on free speech are growing tighter. It is time to speak out

Free speech is under attack in three ways. First, repression by governments has increased. Second, a worrying number of non-state actors are enforcing censorship by assassination. Third, the idea has spread that people and groups have a right not to be offended. “Never try to silence views with which you disagree. Answer objectionable speech with more speech. Win the argument without resorting to force. And grow a tougher hide.” http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21699909-curbs-free-speech-are-growing-tighter-it-time-speak-out-under-attack
From Under attack | The Economist
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On the Banning of Looking for Alaska - YouTube

In which John discusses the American Library Association's recent announcement that his book "Looking for Alaska" was the most challenged book in the U.S. in 2015, responds to those who try to get the book removed from schools and libraries, and discusses the role of teachers and librarians in American life.
From On the Banning of Looking for Alaska - YouTube
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Censor bans first publication in Ireland in 18 years

The Censorship of Publications Board put a prohibition order on all editions of 'The Raped Little Runaway', written by Jean Martin.

The order applies to to all editions of the book by any publisher.

From Censor bans first publication in Ireland in 18 years - Independent.ie

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Why the Banning of 'A Birthday Cake for George Washington' Really Matters

On Sunday, January 17, 2016 Scholastic Inc., withdrew my book A Birthday Cake for George Washington from publication stating it provided a "false impression of the reality of the lives of slaves." The company claims otherwise, but certainly public outcry determined its decision.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ramin-ganeshram/why-banning-a-birthday-cake-george-washington_...

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The Hong Kong Bookseller Who's Keeping 'Banned' Books On His Shelves

In Hong Kong's densely packed Causeway Bay district, a red sign with a portrait of Chairman Mao looms over the bustling storefronts and shoppers. The sign indicates that there is coffee, books and Internet on offer inside.

Customers go past a window where travelers can exchange foreign currencies, up a narrow staircase and into a room stacked high with books. The walls are painted red and decked out with 1960s Cultural Revolution propaganda posters and other Mao-era memorabilia. The aroma of coffee and the sound of jazz waft over the book-browsing customers.

This is the People's Bookstore (in Chinese, "People's Commune"), run by Hong Kong entrepreneur Paul Tang. Tang got his start selling Chinese-language books from the mainland in 2002. A year later, China's government began allowing individual mainland travelers to visit Hong Kong. Previously, they were only allowed to go in tour groups.

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/02/03/465284407/the-hong-kong-bookseller-whos-kee...

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Amid Controversy, Scholastic Pulls Picture Book About Washington's Slave

After a torrent of criticism, Scholastic has decided to stop distributing A Birthday Cake for George Washington, a picture book about one of George Washington's slaves.

The historical book tells the story of Hercules, a slave used by the president as his chef. It shows Hercules and his daughter Delia happy and taking pride in making Washington a birthday cake.

Almost as soon as the book was released, it received withering criticism for whitewashing the history of slavery.

The review in Kirkus noted that the book contained images of smiling slaves in almost every page. But it cautioned that this was not the same kind of story that had played out just months before when A Fine Dessert, another story about happy slaves making sweet treats, was eviscerated by critics.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/18/463488364/amid-controversy-scholastic-pull...

In response to controversy, hundreds pack Mount Horeb library for reading of transgender book

<P align=justify><blockquote>MOUNT HOREB — In a turnout that stunned organizers, nearly 600 people filled the library here Wednesday night to hear a public reading of a children’s book about a transgender girl, with many in the crowd expressing strong support for a local family with a transgender child.</blockquote></P> From <A HREF="http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/in-response-to-controversy-hundreds-pack-mount-horeb-library-for/article_095da109-0caf-534e-9879-3cb4e0c769ee.html">http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/in-respon

Newest "Captain Underpants" banned from MI book fair

Parents who want their children to have the latest Captain Underpants novel can either mail an order to Scholastic or purchase the book online.

“I support the decision of the parent group and the principal for handling it this way,” said Martin in calling the move “appropriate.”

Martin said this was not an attempt to censor what books are available. Instead, it was an effort to ensure that parents are involved in what might be viewed as a controversial topic for their kids.

From Newest "Captain Underpants" banned from local book fair - WXYZ.com

Metadata that kills

Descriptive metadata is never neutral. It reflects our understanding of our society, and our interpretation of how we think the world should be. It is unavoidably evocative of not just a book, film, or song, but rather the whole society which gave it genesis. When developed, particularly Western, countries wind up determining codes and classifications, a very specific illustration of the world is drawn which is a slim sliver of human understanding of the world.

From Metadata that kills — Medium

Rushdie warns of new dangers to free speech in West

"It seems to me the battle for free expression was won 100 years ago," the 68-year-old told an audience at the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair, under heavy security.
"The fact that we have to go on fighting this battle is the result of a number of regrettable, more recent phenomena."

From Rushdie warns of new dangers to free speech in West - Yahoo News Canada

I’m a Librarian Who Banned a Book. Here’s Why.

While we now have several trivial and frivolous national events such a as National Coffee Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day, events that bring attention to real issues – like Banned Book Week – are too often overlooked.

Ultimately, a banned book cuts at the heart of what makes a free democracy work. As Noam Chomsky said during a 1992 BBC interview, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

From I’m a Librarian Who Banned a Book. Here’s Why.

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Rising to the Challenge: How the Book Internet Delivered

It is not, nor will it ever be, one parent’s duty to parent for the entirety of a group of children. Their job is to watch their child an their child alone. In the instance of Some Girls Are, one parent managed to get a book pulled as an option from a list because she felt it was “smut.” Where it would make sense to tell her child to instead read a different book, she could find no peace in that. She wanted this book removed as an option for all readers.

From Rising to the Challenge: How the Book Internet Delivered

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