“After The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1885, the book was boycotted in some places in the United States for portraying friendship between a black man and a white boy. “In its time, it was derided and censored,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, which tracks challenges to books. (via Philly.com)
“In the library world, access to information is a human right, not to be tampered with or controlled in any way. The books that line the shelves have been carefully selected by a trained librarian to offer the reader a balanced approach to all topics – that is, we try to provide all points of view, whether or not we personally agree with them. While this may anger some people and some groups, a balance in points of view is what any good library finds essential. Occasionally, some offended person asks to have a title withdrawn from being used, which is called a “challenge”; occasionally, these challenges are successful.” (via Gizmodo)
“A resident who tried and failed in 1999 to have a book removed from a high school curriculum has been appointed to the Downers Grove Public Library board of trustees. The village council voted 5-2 Aug. 18 to approve the nomination of Arthur Jaros Jr. to the six-member board. Jaros was one of 20 people whose appointments to various village boards and commissions were approved. Jaros’ nomination for the unpaid post was the only one that drew scrutiny and more than 150 emails from residents about it. Citing the number of emails he had received about Jaros’ nomination, commissioner Bob Barnett tried to delay the vote on the appointments. He said he wanted more time to read all the emails.” (via Chicago Tribune)
“As subversive books go, many of the 49 children’s tales hardly seem seditious. There is the story of the male dog who aspired to be a ballerina. The one about the little boy who wanted to be a princess, and a princess who wanted to be a soccer player. The tale of the penguin egg hatched and adopted by two male penguins (based on a real story at the Central Park Zoo in New York). And another about a little boy who learns to live with a physical disability, metaphorically depicted as a little saucepan that bangs around in his wake.” (via NYT)
“It turns out at least one part of publishing has a diverse slate of authors: The books most likely to be pulled from school and library shelves. The American Library Association on Monday released its annual list of the 10 books receiving the most complaints from parents, educators and others in the local community. Sherman Alexie’s prize-winning, autobiographical novel of school life, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” ranked No. 1, followed by Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel “Persepolis” and the picture book about two male penguins raising a baby penguin, Peter Parnell’s and Justin Richardson’s “And Tango Makes Three.” (via AP)
“A concerned parent said a high school library book is pornographic and that it promotes prostitution and child abuse, but a school district committee voted to keep that controversial book in the library. “I just started going throughout the whole entire book, looking at it,” said Catrenna Lopez, mother of a freshman at Rio Rancho High School. Lopez took cellphone pictures after seeing the book her 15-year-old son brought home from the school library last month. “First thing I did was open up the book and come to a sex scene in the book,” Lopez said.” (via KRQE News 13)
“The Illinois Family Institute has long been listed as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, so news that their “cultural analyst” Laurie Higgins has said something incendiary about LGBTQ people is not a surprise. This time, however, the particular focus of her anti-gay rant is worth considering, if only because it partakes in the phenomenon of absurd conservative rhetoric sort of sounding good if you don’t think about it too hard.” (via Slate)
“Toronto Public Library occasionally gets requests from people who want a particular book, movie or audio recording removed from library shelves. Librarians dutifully review each complaint.
Sometimes the requests are reasonable. In 2012, for instance, a complaint led to the removal of an educational video that a library user thought reinforced racist stereotypes about date rape. The newly released list of removal requests for 2013, meanwhile, is just completely insane.
In March 2013, someone complained about Hop on Pop, a Dr. Suess book intended to teach phonics to young children, because it “encourages children to use violence against their fathers.” (via torontolife.com)
“Visitors to the Fort Smith Public Library will no longer be able to puff on electronic cigarettes while browsing through books. The library’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to ban e-cigarettes, which resemble traditional cigarettes but emit vapor instead of smoke. “The policy as it stands now just says smoking is not allowed in the library,” Library Director Jennifer Goodson told the board, which unanimously approved the measure.” (via AP)
“What do the books “The Catcher in the Rye,” “Invisible Man” and Anne Franks diary have in common? Theyve all been banned from libraries. On Sunday, the American Library Association begins its annual recognition of Banned Books Week. Tell Me More host Michel Martin talks to former ALA president Loriene Roy about targeted books, and efforts to keep them on shelves.” (via NPR)