LIB 600 Libraries and Education Fall 2012Banned Books Week
Celebrate YourFreedom to Read Banned Books Week September 30th – October 6th 2012 Adapted and Expanded from a Presentation originally created by Kelly Sonnanstine – FGCU Library Services in 2000
What is Banned Books Week? Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read– Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. For more information on Banned Books Week, click here. According to the American Library Association, there were 326 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2011, and many more go unreported.– Banned Books Week Sponsors • American Booksellers Association • American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression • American Library Association • American Society of Journalists and Authors • Association of American Publishers • National Association of College Stores • Endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress • In 2011, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; and PEN American Center also signed on as sponsors.
Based on intellectual freedom What is 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. – Intellectual freedom is the basis for our democratic system. We expect our people to be self-governors. But to do so responsibly, our citizenry must be well-informed. • Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A
Censorship – [is] the control of the information and ideas circulated within a society – The rationales for censorship have varied, with some censors targeting material deemed to be indecent or obscene; heretical or blasphemous; or seditious or treasonous. Thus, ideas have been suppressed under the guise of protecting three basic social institutions: the family, the church, and the state.
Freedom of speech The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of AmericaCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791
What about the freedom to read? Not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution – Does that mean to say that the First Amendment does not apply to reading? – See court cases on The Right to Read Freely on ALA’s Notable First Amendment Court Cases web page
Why Banned Book Week? Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates our freedom to express and explore diverse opinions, even if those opinions are considered by some to be unorthodox or unpopular. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
More About Why? Although targeted by censors, most of the booksfeatured during BBW were not banned, thanks to theefforts of librarians to maintain them in their collections.Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and banned—if librarians, teachers, and booksellersacross the country did not use Banned Books Week eachyear to teach the importance of our First Amendmentrights and the power of literature, and to draw attention tothe danger that exists when restraints are imposed on theavailability of information in a free society.
Banned Books Week Message The message of Banned Books Week is more than a simple celebration of our freedom to explore and express unorthodox or unpopular opinions. Banned Books Week reminds us that it is our responsibility as citizens to ensure the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.
“The books that the world calls immoral are the books that showthe world its own shame.” Wilde - Oscar
Damage of Fear When books are challenged, restricted, removed, orbanned, an atmosphere of suppression exists. Authorsmay make revisions less for artistic reasons than to avoidcontroversy. Editors and publishers may alter texts orelect not to publish for economic and marketing reasons.Staff in bookstores and libraries, fearing reprisal, maysimply choose not to purchase controversialmaterials, practicing a form of silent censorship.
Damage of Fear The fear of theconsequences of censorshipis as damaging as, orperhaps more damagingthan, the actual censorshipattempt. After all, when apublished work is banned, itcan usually be foundelsewhere. Unexpressedideas, unpublishedworks, unpurchased booksare lost forever.—2001Resource Guide
“The ultimateexpression of freespeech lies not in theideas with which weagree, but in thoseideasthat offend andirritate us.”Stone - Chuck
Why Are Books Challenged? Books are usually challenged by people with good intentions—to protect others, usually children, from difficult ideas and truths. Censorship can be subtle, almost invisible, or it can be blatant, but regardless of the way in which it is presented, it is always harmful.
Why Are Books Challenged? Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights reminds us that “Parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.”
“Books and ideas are the mosteffective weaponsagainst intolerance and ignorance.” - Lyndon B. Johnson
Who Challenges Books? Throughout history, moreand different kinds of peoplethan you might firstsuppose, and groups of allpersuasions, have for all sortsof reasons, attempted—andcontinue to attempt—tosuppress literature and otherforms of expression thatconflict with their ownbeliefs.
Who Challenges Books? In his book Free Speech for Me—But Not for Thee:How the American Left and Right Relentlessly CensorEach Other, Nat Hentoff writes that ―the lust to suppresscan come from any direction.‖ He quotes Phil Kerby, aformer editor of the Los Angeles Times, assaying, ―Censorship is the strongest drive in humannature; sex is a weak second.‖
“Fear of corruptingthe mind of theyoungergeneration is theloftiest form ofcowardice.”- Holbrook Jackson
Challenge vs. Banning A challenge is anattempt to remove orrestrict materials, basedupon the objections of aperson or group. A banning is the actualremoval of those materialsfrom the curriculum orlibrary, thereby restrictingthe access of others.
Challenge vs. Banning Challenges go beyond the exercise of free speech. They are an attempt to remove materials from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the rights of others. The positive message of Banned Books Week is that, due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, stud ents and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.
Challenge List Tabulation The American Library Association (ALA) collects information from two sources: newspapers and reports submitted by individuals. This information is compiled into a database. Reports of challenges culled from newspapers across the country are compiled in the bimonthly Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom; those reports are then compiled in the Banned Books Week Resource Guide.
“The right to be heard does not automaticallyinclude the right to be taken seriously.” - Hubert H. Humphrey
10 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 200010. The Giver, by Lois Lowry, for being sexually explicit, occult themes and violence.9. The Terrorist, by Caroline Cooney, for violence, being unsuited to age group and occult themes.8. Scary Stories series, by Alvin Schwartz, for violence, being unsuited to age group and occult themes.7. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers, for offensive language, racism, violence and being unsuited to age group.6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou, for being too explicit in the book’s portrayal of rape and other sexual abuse.
10 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 20005. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck, for offensive language, racism, violence and being unsuited to age group.4. Killing Mr. Griffin, by Lois Duncan, for violence and sexual content3. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, for sexual content and being unsuited to age group.2. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier (the “Most Challenged” fiction book of 1998), for violence, offensive language and being unsuited to age group.
The Most Frequently Challenged Book of 20001. Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling, (the “Most Challenged” fiction book of 1998), for occult/Satanism and anti-family themes. NOTE: According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, Harry Potter first entered the list [ in 1999], rising to the top after only three months. The number of challenges to Harry Potter reported in 2000 [was] triple that of 1999.
Most challenged book of 2006? (and 2007 and 2008 and 2010) And Tango Makes Three tops ALA’s 2006 list of most challenged books – Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s award- winning And Tango Makes Three, about two male penguins parenting an egg from a mixed- sex penguin couple, tops the list of most challenged books in 2006 by parents and administrators, due to the issues of homosexuality.Gay penguins have a place in school libraries?Nov 17, 2006
Most Challenged Books in 2011? 1) ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group 2) The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group 3) The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence [up from 5th in 2010] 4) My Moms Having A Baby! A Kids Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group 5) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group [Down from 2nd in 2010] – Source: About Banned Books Week
“Don’t join the bookburners. Don’t think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower
The most frequently challenged authors of 2008-2010 2011: Lauren Myracle, Kim Dong Hwa, Chris Crutcher, Carolyn Mackler, Robert Greene, Sonya Sones, Dori Hillestead Butler, Sherman Alexie, Suzanne Collins, Aldous Huxley, Harper Lee, Eric Jerome Dickey, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Dav Pilkey, Cecily von Ziegesar 2010: Ellen Hopkins, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Sonya Sones, Judy Blume, Ann Brasheres, Suzanne Collins, Aldous Huxley, Sherman Alexie, Laurie Halse Anderson, Natasha Friend 2009: Lauren Myracle, Alex Sanchez, P.C. Cast, Robert Cormier, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Stephen Chbosky, Chris Crutcher, Ellen Hopkins, Richelle Mead, John Steinbeck Most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century
Another ALA Resource
“Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence initself. It is the hallmark of an authoritarian regime…” - Justice Potter Stewart
An opposing viewpoint―You might be shocked at the sensitive, controversial and inappropriate material that can be found in books in K-12 schools. Both in the classroom and library. Parents should be aware of what their children can or must read in school to decide whether it is appropriate for them or not.‖ – http://pabbis.com/
Landmark court casesRosenberg v. Board of Education of City of New York, 92 N.Y.S.2d 344 (Sup. Ct. Kings County 1949)Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District No. 26 v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853, 102 S.Ct. 2799, 73 L.Ed.2d 435 (1982)Case v. Unified School District No. 233, 908 F. Supp. 864 (D. Kan. 1995) – See Notable First Amendment Court Cases
WARNING! Some people consider The following books dangerous!
Are you there God?It’s me, Margaret. By Judy Blume Challenged in many libraries but removed from Gilbert, AZ elementary school libraries (1980), and ordered that parental consent be required to check out this title from the junior high school libraries. Was said to be profane, immoral, and offensive.
The Clan of the Cave Bear By Jean M. Auel Challenged at the Berrien Springs, MI High School for use in classrooms and libraries (1998) because the novel is “vulgar, profane, and sexually explicit.” Banned from Cascade Middle school Library in Eugene, OR (1992) because a parent complained about a rape scene.
To Kill a Mockingbird By Harper Lee Challenged in many communities for language and racial themes. Temporarily banned in Eden Valley, MN (1977) due to the words “damn” and “whore lady” used in the novel. Banned from the Lincoln, TX AP reading list (1996) because the book “conflicted with the values of the community.”
Slaughterhouse-Five By Kurt Vonnegut Banned in Rochester, MI, because the novel “contains and makes references to religious matters” and thus fell within the ban of establishment clause. Challenged in many communities but burned (yes, burned) in Drake, ND (1973) for being “vulgar and offensive.”
Where the Sidewalk Ends By Shel SilversteinChallenged in Xenia, OH schoollibraries (1983) because the book is“anti-Christian, against parental andschool authorities, emphasized theuse of drugs and sexual activity.” Removed from the shelves ofMinot, ND public school libraries(1986) by the assistantsuperintendent “in anticipation of aparent’s complaint.” Upon therecommendation of a reviewcommittee the book was returned tothe shelves.
Song of Solomon By Toni Morrison Removed from the required reading lists and library shelves in Richmond County, GA School District (1994) after a parent complained the passages from the book were “filthy and inappropriate.” Challenged, but retained, in the Columbus, OH schools (1993). The complainant believed that the book contains language degrading to blacks, and is sexually explicit.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer By Mark Twain Excluded from the children’sroom in the Brooklyn Public Library(1876) and the Denver PublicLibrary (1876). Removed from school libraries inLondon, England, by educationofficials (1985) who found it “racist”and “sexist.” Confiscated at the U.S.S.R.border (1930).
Blubber By Judy Blume Challenged in the Perry Township, OH elementary school libraries (1991) because in the book, “bad is never punished. Good never comes to the fore. Evil is Triumphant.” Banned at the Clements High School in Athens, AL (1998) because of objections to two instances of the word “damn” and one instance of the word “bitch” in the novel.
Flowers for Algernon By Daniel Keyes Banned in Plant City, FL (1976) and Emporium, PA (1977) because of references to sex. Challenged, but retained, in theYorktown, VA Schools (1996)because a parent complained aboutprofanity and references to sex anddrinking in the novel. Removed from the ninth gradecurriculum by the Rayburn, GACounty Board of Education (1997)because it was “inappropriate” for theninth grade.
The Color Purple By Alice Walker Banned in the Souderton, PA Area School District (1992) as inappropriate for tenth graders because it is “smut.” Retained as an English Course reading assignment in the Junction City, OR High School (1995) after a challenge to Walker’s Pulitzer Prize- winning novel caused months of controversy.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain Banned in Concord, MA (1885)as “trash and suitable only for theslums.” Dropped from the New YorkCity (1905) list of approved booksfor senior and junior highschools, partly because of thefrequent use of the term “nigger.” The Pennsylvania NAACPcalled for the removal of the bookfrom required reading lists (1998)across the state because of raciallanguage.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou Four members of the Alabama State Textbook Committee (1983) called for its rejection because Angelou’s work preaches “bitterness and hatred against whites.” Banned from the Dolores Parrott Middle School in Brooksville, FL school library and classrooms (1998) because of a passage in which Angelou tells of being molested and raped as a child.
Of Mice and Men By John Steinbeck Banned from classroom use at theScottsboro, AL (1983) due to profanity. Removed and later returned to theSuwannee, FL High School Library(1991) because the book is “indecent.” Removed, restored, restricted, andeventually retained in the Bay Countyschools in Panama City, FL. (1997)
Catcher in the Rye By J.D. Salinger Since its publication, this title has been a favorite target of censors. Banned from classrooms at the Boron, CA High School (1989) because the book contains profanity. Removed from the required reading curriculum of Marysville, CA Joint Unified School District (1997) because of profanity and sexual situations .
Where’s Waldo? By Martin Handford Challenged at the Public Librariesof Saginaw, MI (1998) because “onsome of the pages there are dirtythings.” Removed from the Springs PublicLibrary in East Hampton, NY (1993)because there is a tiny drawing of awoman lying on the beach wearing abikini bottom but no top. See #6 in 11 Most Ironically Banned Books Of All Time
100 Years of Solitude By Gabriel Garcia-Marquez Purged from the book list for the use at the Wasco, CA Union High School (1986) because the book, whose author won the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, was “garbage being passed off as literature.” Removed from the AP English reading list at St. Johns High School in Darlington, SC (1990) because of profane language.
Learn More Here Preserving Intellectual Freedom: FightingCensorship in Our Schools By Jean E. Brown Banned in the USA: A Reference Guide to Book Censorship in Schools and Public Libraries By Herbert N. Foerstel Intellectual Freedom Manual 8th ed. (2010)Compiled By Office for Intellectual Freedom, ALA. Censored: The News that Didn’t Make the News By Carl Jensen