Censorship and YA
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Censorship and YA

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  • Economy, we don’t want to lose our jobsRationalizing that students aren’t ready to handle mature themes
  • They censor themselves and that’s the way it should work
  • “teens need to know that the monsters can be killed…”
  • *NCLB mandates a selection policy and a procedure for challenged books (Greenwood District, 2004).

Censorship and YA Censorship and YA Presentation Transcript

  • Don’t Read This Book!!
    Censorship & YA Literature
    Vicki Billimack & Joel Machiela
  • Intellectual Freedom
    Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.   (ALA)
  • Library Bill of Rights
    I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
    II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
    III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  • Library Bill of Rights
    IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
    V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
    VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
    (ALA)
  • Censorship and Selection
    WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE?
    Censorship  
    thought control
    finds reasons to reject the book.    
    Selection 
    liberty of thought
    finds reasons to keep the book.
    (Asheim, 1953) 
  • Censorship and Selection
    WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE?
    "The positive selector asks what the reaction of a rational intelligent adult would be to the content of the work; the censor fears for the results on the weak, the warped, and the irrational."
    - Lester Asheim (1953).
     
  • Self-censorship
    REASONS WE CENSOR OUR OWN COLLECTIONS
    Fear of anticipated challenges
    Fear of objection by teachers, principals, parents, school board
    Potential loss of employment
    Lack of confidence in ability to discuss complicated issues with students
    Authors struggle with self-censorship as well
    Fear of not being published or of not being put on the shelves
    Especially if previous works have faced challenges 
    (Whelan, 2009)
  • Self-censorship
    REASONS TO SELECT
    "Children will put down what they can't handle or what they aren't ready for." - Pat Scales, president of the Association of Library Services to Children
  • Self-censorship
    REASONS TO SELECT
    "That's why YA authors write radical reads, and that's why teens read them . [Teens] need to know that the monsters can be killed and that they can survive even the worst of them, if they choose to do so. They also need to know that they aren't alone -- there's at least one person out there [who] . . . understands them and what they are living with." - Ellen Hopkins, author of Burned, Crank, Glass, Impulse, and Tricks.
  • Self-censorship
    WHAT KIDS GET OUT OF READING “RACY” BOOKS
    Vicarious experience, trying out different lives
    Seeing the choices, the consequences
    Exposure to inappropriate behavior, modeling appropriate behavior (social, racial, drugs, etc.)
    "We have a special responsibility writing for kids, and we take it seriously." - Brent Hartinger, author of Geography Club
    "If I don't write honestly about [the issue] then I'm just another person saying 'don' t do it.' ... I hopefully write the truth. My readers will call me on it if I don't." - Ellen Hopkins
  • Book Challenges
  • What is a Book Challenge?
    “An attempt to remove or restrict materials based on an objection of a person or a group" (ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom).
    Between 2001 and 2008, 3,736 challenges were initiated, 68% of which originated in the nation's school system (Hill, 2010, p. 31).
  • Why Are Books Challenged?
    Books are usually challenged with the best intentions — to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. 
    (ALA)
  • Top 14 Reasons Why YA Books are Challenged
    1.  Profanity
    2.  Heterosexual
    activity
    3.  Homosexuality
    4.  Sexual activity deemed immoral/illegal
    5.  Religion/Witchcraft
    6.  Violence/Horror
    7.  Rebellion
    8.  Racism/Sexism
    9.  Substance use/
    abuse
    10. Suicide/death
    11. Crime
    12.  Crude behavior
    13.  Depressing/
    Negative
    14.  Other
    (Curry, 2001)
  • Before a Challenge
    CHALLENGED BOOK PROCEDURES
    Create a materials selection policy
    Example: Geneva Public Library   
    Create form and procedure for formal removal and reconsideration of materials 
  • (Greenwood District, 2004)
  • Educate Objecting Parents
    CHALLENGED BOOK PROCEDURES
    Ask if parent has read the book/ if not, invite them to do so
    Clarify the source of the objection
    Discuss book as a whole with parent--often profanity, objectionable material can be taken out of context
    Invite parent to a student/librarian book discussion
    Discuss how author's voice, slang, dialect, characterization, etc. affect theme.  Student comments might change parent's perception of book. 
  • Offer Alternative Titles
    CHALLENGED BOOK PROCEDURES
    Safer books on same topic
    Share alternative titles with teachers who have assigned the reading
  • Relocation of Controversial Materials
    CHALLENGED BOOK PROCEDURES
    Move to adult section
    Move to restricted area/ closed stack section
    Can be seen as form of censorship
    Some patrons will not be able to access without asking
  • Banned Book Week
    Founded in 1982 by Judith Krug, director of ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom
    Last week in September
    Libraries, schools, booksellers celebrate individuals' First Amendment right to read by recognizing challenged and banned books
    (Kinney, 2009, p. 9) 
    Discussion: What does your library or school library do for banned book week?
  • Resources
    ALA. (1996, January 23). Library Bill of Rights. Retrieved July 16, 2010, from http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/intfreedom/library bill/index.cfm
    ALA. (2010). Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A. Retrieved July 16, 2010, from http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/basics/ifcensor shipqanda.cfm   
    Asheim, L. (1953, September). Not censorship but selection. Wilson Library Bulletin, 28, 63-67. 
    Curry, A. (2001). Where is Judy Blume?: Controversial fiction for children and young adults. Journal of Youth Services in Libraries, 13(3), 28-37. 
    Freedman, L., & Johnson, H. (2000). Who's protecting whom? I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This, a case in point in confronting self-censorship in the choice of young adult literature. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 44(4), 356.
  • Resources
    Geneva Public Library District. (2006). Materials selection policy. Retrieved July 16, 2010, from http://www.geneva.lib.il.us/materialselection  
    Greenwood District Media Specialists. (2004, May 13). Book selection policy of Greenwood School District. Retrieved July 16, 2010, from http://ghsweb.k12.ar.us/media/selection.htm
    Hill, R. (2010). Gritty, tough, edgy, and controversial: YA authors who tackle forbidden subjects and why they do it. Voice Youth Advocates, 33(1), 30-32.
    Kinney, B. (2009). A duty to offend?. Alki, 25(2), 9, 11.
    Whelan, D. (2009). A dirty little secret. School Library Journal, 55(2), 26-30.