“If a book features sexual content or homosexuality, profanity or racial slurs, magic or violence, chances are someone has tried to have it removed from a library shelf or school reading list. Every year there are hundreds of challenges to books or other materials by people who want to see them barred from libraries or classrooms — a fact that libraries have highlighted this week during Banned Books Week, the American Library Association’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Many schools and public libraries in the Augusta area have received complaints about certain books, but they rarely have risen to the level of a formal challenge, according to librarians and other officials.” (via Portland Press Herald)
“If a county could blush, Randolph County just might. The school board in this largely rural county, to the embarrassment of many residents, voted last week to ban Ralph Ellison’s iconic novel of African American angst, “Invisible Man.” In a 5-2 vote, the board barred the book from all school libraries in the county after the mother of an 11th-grader complained that the novel was “too much for teenagers.” But confronted by an angry backlash and concerns that the ban had shamed the county, the board backed down and scheduled a special meeting Wednesday in order to reconsider the book’s status.” (via latimes.com)
“Attempts to ban books are increasingly driven by the desire to protect teenagers from tales of sex, drugs and suicide in young adult fiction, the American Library Association reports.This growing number of attempts to restrict edgy teen fiction was revealed as part of Americas Banned Books Week, from 22 to 28 September.”Young adult is a big trend right now, and a high number of complaints are directed at those books,” said Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association, which organises Banned Books Week. “There is a lot of pressure to keep teenagers safe and protected, especially in urban areas, and we are seeing many more complaints about alcohol, smoking, suicide and sexually explicit material.” (via theguardian.com)
“There must be something in the river water in southern Arizona! Well, actually, there is no water in southern Arizona, but if there were, it would have something in it! Something that turns people into book censors. Dreaming in Cuban by Christina Garcia, a National Book Award finalist, was removed from high school classes this week in Sierra Vista, Arizona. The American Library Association (ALA) had never heard of anyone, anywhere, objecting to this book before, and those people really watch these things! In fact, they have a whole website dedicated to it, and they have been sponsoring Banned Books Week since 1982. Sierra Vista High School’s timing is impeccable on this one, making them the opening act in this year’s Banned Books Week, September 22-28.” (via Washington Post)
“Several hundred books that were pulled from the shelves of the Gadsden Public Library and the Austin Meadows Library at Gadsden State Community College will be returned to their rightful place as the libraries observe “Banned Books Week,” which begins Monday. The books removed at the Gadsden Public Library were replaced on the shelves with notification that the work was a “banned book.” The books were placed on shelves with caution tape covering them. Library Director Amanda Jackson said she was disappointed there wasn’t more of a response to the books being pulled, but she believes the library made its point.” (via GadsdenTimes.com)
“From the seemingly innocuous “Charlotte’s Web” to the oft-maligned “Catcher in the Rye,” this year’s winning banned books trading cards feature a variety of titles. Throw in assorted mediums to illustrate them — art-quilting, crayon and digital collage, to name a few — and the spirit of banned books is captured in a well-rounded set of trading cards.” (via LJWorld.com)
“When Rainbow Rowell’s first YA novel Eleanor & Park came out this spring, people loved it. After John Green gave it a glowing (shimmering, really. Incandescent, even) review in the New York Times, even more people loved it. It was an Amazon Best Book of the Month, a New York Times bestseller, and it inspired a shocking amount of beautifully rendered fan art. I loved it, my mother loved it, my pregnant coworker loved it, my friend who “never reads YA ” loved it. You probably loved it, too. (Full disclosure: Rainbow Rowell is a friend of mine. She once mailed me a photograph of Alan Alda and also a postcard with a drawing of an oyster on it that said “The World Is Your Oyster” after I quit my day job, so I would even go so far as to call her a “good friend.”) A group of high school librarians in Minnesota loved Eleanor & Park so much that they chose it as their school district’s summer read, giving all their high school students the option to read it – and invited Rowell to come visit the Minneapolis-area schools and the local public library this fall.” But there are some who do not love it, not even a little bit, not even at all. (via The Toast)
“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison is banned from the shelves of Randolph County Schools libraries.By a 5-2 margin, the Randolph County Board of Education voted Monday night, at its regular meeting held at Eastern Randolph High School, to remove all copies of the book from school libraries.The action stems from a Randleman High School parent’s complaint about the book. Committees at both the school and district levels recommended it not be removed.” (via Courier Tribune, Asheboro)
“Bowing to Tea Party pressure, Alabama State Senator Bill Holtzclaw said this week that he thinks The Bluest Eye, Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison’s novel about a little black girl who wishes for blue eyes, should be banned in schools. He only made this statement after GOP members criticized him for opposing a repeal of the federal Common Core standards. The Bluest Eye is on the 11th grade reading list for the Common Core, a set of standards that has been adapted by more than 40 states.” (via The Atlantic Wire)
“A Southeast Steuben County Library trustee recently stepped down from the position after criticizing the library for promoting objectionable material in a letter posted on the official website of the Town of Caton, where she serves as assessor. In the letter, Ann Balch said her Christian beliefs do not allow her to support:
• The viewing of pornography on library computers.
• The promotion of homosexuality, especially in the children’s department.
• The promotion of witchcraft in the young adult’s section.
• The promotion of the Muslim religion without also promoting Christianity as an alternative.
via The Corning Leader)