“It’s a debate we expect to hear a lot more of in coming years: is developing a ratings system for increasingly dark young adult literature a move toward responsibility and oversight – or a slide into censorship? In its latest iteration, the debate is being played out across the pond in the UK, where bestselling children’s authors G.P. Taylor and Patrick Ness sparred on BBC Breakfast over Taylor’s proposal to establish an age-ranging system for children’s lit.”
“Restricted access is still censorship, the Kids’ Right to Read Project declared in its call for the return of Patricia Polacco’s In Our Mothers’ House to school library stacks in Davis County, UT. The Kids’ Right to Read Project is a joint effort of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), In a letter sent (click for .pdf) to the Superintendent of schools, the Kids’ Right to Read Project criticized the County’s recent moves to restrict access to the book, allowing it to be checked out of the school library only with a signed permission slip.
1) NCAC, Free Speech Groups Criticize M.D. Library’s “Porn” Ban – “The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) united with other freedom of expression organizations again today on behalf of E.L. James’ best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey (Vintage), this time in Harford County, Maryland. In a joint letter (below) issued to the county library’s board, NCAC has arrayed co-signers representing publishers, authors, booksellers and journalists from across the nation to urge Harford County to reconsider the thinking behind its generic ban on “porn,” a subjectively and selectively defined category.”
2) NCAC Unites Orgs in Support of “The Family Book” in Erie, I.L. – “Following the ban of Todd Parr’s The Family Book (Little, Brown and Company) in Erie, Illinois, seven organizations have joined with the Kids’ Right to Read Project to oppose the decision. The Kids Right to Read Project is a joint effort of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), In a letter sent to the Erie School Board, NCAC and other free expression defenders criticized the district’s decision to ban the book and other materials endorsed by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). In doing so, the letter says, it acquiesced to religiously-motivated complaints by some parents at the expense of the rest of the community.
“Patricia Polacco, whose children’s book In Our Mothers’ House got bounced from a Davis County elementary school library shelf to “behind the counter,” wants to make one thing clear: The book did not belong in the kindergarten-third grade section.
Rather, she says, it should have been on the fourth-grade-and-up shelves, where curious kids might read it and spark a good discussion with their families at the dining room table.”
“This evening, Facebook is launching its new App Center to help its 901 million members discover high quality social apps for the web and mobile. Goodreads is one of the apps participating in the launch event, and the new App Center will serve as another way for people to discover our app.
What makes the Goodreads team particularly proud is that the Facebook App Center only lists high quality apps that rate well on key signals such as highest customer ratings and frequency of user shares. The Goodreads App, with an average 4.5 star rating (out of 5) is clearly winning many fans.”
“The justification for free reading of books but no free drinking of sugary soda pop is that soft drinks can rot your teeth and make you tubby, whereas most books won’t rot your mind. And they only make you a little tubby by immobilizing you when you probably should go out and play.”
via Bill Hall
Courthouse News – “Texas corrections facilities did not violate the First Amendment by banning certain books that graphically describe rape, child abuse and race relations in the prison system, the 5th Circuit ruled. Prison Legal News, a nonprofit advocate of inmate rights, filed suit over five books banned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), under a book-review policy that the parties agree is constitutional. TDCJ has approved about 80,000 of more than 92,000 books sent to its inmates, according to database records.”
Amazon.com – “Owning a Kindle just got a whole lot better for magic-loving Muggles. Starting June 19, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is adding all seven Harry Potter books (in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish) to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). Harry Potter is the all-time best-selling book series in history, and Amazon has purchased an exclusive license from J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore to make the addition of these titles possible. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a benefit of Amazon Prime membership—Prime members also enjoy free two-day shipping on millions of items and unlimited streaming of more than 17,000 movies and TV episodes. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library has now grown to over 145,000 books that can be borrowed for free as frequently as once a month, with no due dates.”
Goodreads Blog – “Goodreads continues to grow at a phenomenal pace. Today, we had our 300 millionth book cataloged! To give this statistic some context: It took the Goodreads community three years to catalog 100 million books (including books marked as read, to-read, or currently reading). Fourteen months later, in late September 2011, we reached 200 million books. Now, just seven months after that, we’ve hit the 300 million benchmark. Take a look at how the number of books cataloged has skyrocketed.”