Banned Books Week September 24-October 1

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and the First Amendment.  Stated in the 7th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual: “Intellectual freedom can exist only where two essential conditions are met: first, that all individuals have the right to hold any belief on any subject and to convey their ideas in any form they deem appropriate, and second, that society makes an equal commitment to the right of unrestricted access to information and ideas regardless of the communication medium used, the content of work, and the viewpoints of both the author and the receiver of information.”

Below are the titles of four books that were challenged or banned 2010-2011.

Frank, Anne. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Doubleday. Challenged at the Culpeper County, Va. public schools (2010) by a parent requesting that her daughter not be required to read the book aloud. Initially, it was reported that officials decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank’s diary, one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime, due to the complaint that the book includes sexual material and homosexual themes. The director of instruction announced the edition published on the fiftieth anniversary of Frank’s death in a concentration camp will not be used in the future despite the fact the school system did not follow its own policy for handling complaints. The remarks set off a hailstorm of criticism online and brought international attention to the 7,600-student school system in rural Virginia. The superintendent said, however, that the book will remain a part of English classes, although it may be taught at a different grade level. Source: Mar. 2010, pp. 57−58; May 2010, p. 107.

Ehrenreich’s, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. Holt. Challenged at the Easton, Penn. School District Holt Challenged at the Easton, Penn. School District (2010), but retained despite a parent’s claim the book promotes “economic fallacies” and socialist ideas, as well as advocating the use of illegal drugs and belittling Christians. Removed from the Bedford, N.H. School District’s required Personal Finance course (2010) after two parents complained about the “book’s profanity, offensive references to Christianity, and biased portrayal of capitalism.” The nonfiction account is about Ehrenreich’s struggles to make a living on multiple minimum-wage jobs in America. A checklist has been proposed that Bedford school officials would use to rate books and other instructional materials. Source: May 2010, p. 107; Mar. 2011, pp. 53–54 May 2011, pp. 96–97.

Gruen, Sara. Water for Elephants. Algonquin Books. Removed from a spring break elective course at the Bedford, N.H. School District (2010) after a parent complained about the novel’s sexual content. The complainant further suggested that the school only allow “youth versions” of particular books or organize a parental review system over the summer that would look at books that students need parental permission to read. A checklist has been proposed that Bedford school officials would use to rate books and other instructional materials. Source: May 2011, pp. 96–97.

Semencic, Carl. Pit Bulls and Tenacious Guard Dogs. Tomasson Grant & Howell. Banned at the Logan, Australia West Library (2011) because it contains information on restricted dog breeds. In 2001, under Local Law 4 (Animal Management) the Logan City Council placed a ban on, among others, pit bull terriers and American pit bulls. Therefore, Logan City Council libraries do not stock literature on any of the prohibited breeds.

 Information and descriptions taken from Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom from May 2010−May 2011 and http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/ideasandresources/free_downloads/2011banned.pdf

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One response

  1. No book has been banned in the USA for about half a century. Fanny Hill got that honor a long time ago. Challenged books in schools that are removed is different from banning. Setting aside that Banned Books Week is propaganda, the creator of BBW said:

    “On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn’t fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.”

    See: “Banned Books Week Propaganda Exposed by Progressive Librarian Rory Litwin; ALA Censors Out Criticism of Its Own Actions in a Manner Dishonest to the Core.”

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