Censorship

Censorship

"It’s not law — it’s a kind of thuggery"

David Post over at the lawprof blog The Volokh Conspiracy writes about the Stop Online Piracy Act and some of the disturbing consequences if it were enacted in the United States. Any library, and if appropriate their parent organization, should consider the consequences Post outlines if that library provides Internet to users let alone staff.

Portsmouth to overturn 80 year book ban

It will be 200 years since Charles Dickens birth next year, but this week the city of Portsmouth will pardon author Carl Roberts for his book 'This Side Idolatry' which was banned from Portsmouth libraries for its criticism of the Dickens.

Ross Solly spoke to Dom Kippin, Literature Development Officer, from the Portsmouth City Council about the book on 666 ABC Canberra Breakfast.

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Do Salt Lake City Librarians Have a Censorship Problem?

Salt Lake City Library employees say the latest chapter on staff turmoil is rich with irony: a clampdown on free speech inside the very institution that celebrates the principle.

A just-launched crackdown on any opinionated email — and on criticism of management expressed via social media — has some veteran librarians fearing for their jobs and a chorus of others crying censorship.

Even Friends of the Library members are openly questioning the library’s direction and its “chronic problems.”

The uproar started last week after the human resources manager unveiled new guidelines for all-staff email. It is only appropriate, Shelly Chapman wrote, to send pertinent, work-related information such as available shifts and job announcements. “It was also determined,” Chapman wrote, “that employees would not use all-staff email to voice opinions or express concerns.”

“Appropriate” all-staff email must be reviewed by two staffers before sending, the edict reads. And “any other” all-staff email must be approved by the employee’s manager.

That prompted veteran librarian Ranae Pierce — via an all-staff email — to point out the irony of the rule, given the library’s free-speech mission. Story from the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Alabama Inmate Sues to Read Southern History Book

From The New York Times

A convict’s lawsuit says he was told by a prison official that an award-winning book about the heinous treatment of black prisoners after the Civil War was “too incendiary” for him to read.

http://nyti.ms/n2kjCL

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.

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"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.

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.

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Two books pulled from Republic school library shelves

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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.

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.

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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!

Amazon Removes Some Explicit Yaoi Manga from Kindle Store

From Publisher's Weekly

Amazon has removed several yaoi manga from its Kindle Store and refused to allow others to be offered for Kindle, although the bookseller continues to sell the same manga in print and to offer more explicit erotic books in both formats. Yaoi manga, also known as boys-love or BL, is a popular niche genre in manga that features love stories between two males and can range from softly romantic to sexually explicit.

The manga publisher Digital Manga Publishing announced on its blog Tuesday that two of its books had been removed from the Kindle Store and two more were rejected, and the website The Yaoi Review also reported that several Yaoi Press manga and novels had been removed. At least one non-yaoi erotic graphic novel has also been removed from the Kindle Store this week. Amazon representatives contacted by PW did not answer e-mails or phone calls requesting more information.

Full article

No Love for "Lovingly Alice" as School District Removes Book

A Paradise Valley, AZ mother is upset that her daughter was subjected to Lovingly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

"If you looked on the cover, it's just a very young cute girl on the cover," Lockhart said. "My (incoming) second-grader can pick this book up and think, 'This is a cute book.' There needs to be some sort of warning label."

Officials with the Paradise Valley Unified School District have pulled the book from their shelves.

More from AZCentral.

Piles of books burned in Arizona town

Piles of books burned in FLDS border town
Piles of books — perhaps thousands — intended to be used for a new library were burned over the weekend in the polygamous community that borders Utah.

"There is a bonfire outside that clearly has books that have burned in it," Wyler said. "I can't say every book has been burned, because I haven't seen the inside. I can't get in there to see."

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Most Americans Opposed to Banning Any Books

Most Americans Opposed to Banning Any Books

Banning or censoring books has been debated for years. A new Harris Poll shows, however, that a majority of Americans think no books should be banned completely (56%) while fewer than one in five say there are books which should be banned (18%); a quarter are not at all sure (26%). The older and less educated people are, the more likely they are to say that there are some books which should be banned completely. Opinions on banning books are linked to political philosophy: almost three quarters of Liberals (73%) say no books should be banned, compared to six in ten Moderates (60%) but only two in five Conservatives (41%) who say no books should be banned.

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The Misinformation Age: What Happens When A Headline Goes Viral

Article opens with some mention of the power and speed with which social media operates. The article then continues: A news item suddenly creates an opportunity, or a celebrity meltdown jeopardizes a planned book. And in the sudden viral spread of a headline, facts are often the first casualty.

At Running Press, we faced this firsthand just last week. Third-party error and miscommunication went viral and led to the spread of untrue accusations of intolerance and censorship.

Full piece in Publisher's Weekly

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A Book's Banning Sparks a Struggle over Gandhi's Legacy

Sir Ben Kingsley in a universally acclaimed bio-epic? Definitely not this time around.

Joseph Lelyveld's new biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India hasn't even hit bookstores in India, but it has already unleashed a firestorm of controversy.

The state of Gujarat, where the icon of the Indian Independence movement was born, has already banned the book. There are some Indian leaders now calling for a national boycott of Great Soul, the latest work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who once covered India for The New York Times.

Full story

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