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Intellectual Freedom, Censorship, & Young Adultsby Summer Kosuge and Caitlin Manock
Policy of Intellectual FreedomIntellectual Freedom isthe right of everyindividual to both seekand receiveinformation from allpoints of view withoutrestriction. It providesfor free access to allexpressions of ideasthrough which any andall sides of a question,cause or movementmay be explored.
1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights:Intellectual freedom, as protected by Freedom of Speech, is a constitutional right.“For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our Library.” John F. Kennedy
Your Rights at the LibraryLibrary Bill of Rights, Articles I, III, VIt is the right of every person to have unrestricted access to the library and its resources. Libraries will fight any attempt to abridge this right. ALA Code of Ethics “We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.”
QuestionDo children and young adults have 1 st Amendment rights?
The Rights of Young Adults “Children and young adults unquestionable possess First Amendment rights, including the right to receive information through the library in print, nonprint, or digital format. Constitutionally protected speech cannot be suppressed solely to protect children of young adults from ideas or images a legislative body believes unsuitable for them.” (ALA Free Access to Libraries by Minors)
Legal Precedence:"Speech … cannot be suppressed solely to protectthe young from ideas or images that a legislativebody thinks unsuitable for them…the values protectedby the First Amendment are no less applicable whengovernment seeks to control the flow of information tominors."Erznoznik v. City of Jacksonville, 422 U.S. 205 (1975)
Except…Libraries cannot assume or overrule the rightof parents and guardians. It is the right of aparent/guardian to determine their child’saccess to library resources.
Freedom to Read Foundation FTRF, formed in 1969, is the legal and financial arm of the ALA protecting the First Amendment rights of librarians, publishers and patrons, including young adults
CensorshipCensorship is any attempt to restrict or suppress ideas and information.
Self- CensorshipFear of anticipated challenges Fear of objection by teachers, principals, parents, school board, public Potential loss of employmentLack of confidence in ability to discuss thecomplicated issues with students/patronsAuthor and self-censorship: Fear of not being published or of not being put on the shelves
Judy Blume “It’s not just the books under fire now that worryme. It is the books that will never be written. Thebooks that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.”
Cleaning Up the Classics. Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of 1885 Twain wrote “the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter” and that it’s “the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”One of the 10 most frequently banned book. In 1995, was the most challenged book.“Rough, coarse and inelegant, dealing with a series of experiences not elevating, the whole book being more suited to the slums that to intelligent, respectable people” (Boston Evening
Questions…Have you used selection as aform of censorship?Have you ever censored yourown choice of librarymaterials?
Young Adults & Self Censorship Children and Young Adults will restrict/censor/deny access to materials themselves for fear of repercussions, comments, embarrassment, and judgment. From the NCAC
Questions…What Vice Presidential candidatetried to ban the book “Pastor am IGay” from their library?Which two states account for half ofall book challenges in 2009? What are the top 3 reasons YAliterature is challenged?
StatisticsOver 50% of challenges in 2009 originated fromTexas and PennsylvaniaIn 2009, 460 challenges were reported to the ALA,which estimates only 1 in every 5 or 6 challengesgets reported.Of the 460 challenges, 410 were books.Parents are responsible for 48% of all challengesOf the 10,676 recorded challenges from 1990-2009, 7,521 came from schools and schoollibraries.The top 3 reasons YA literature is challenge: 1)
Top 14 Reasons why YA books are challenged1. Profanity 9. Rebellion2. Heterosexual activity 10.Suicide/Death3. Homosexuality4. Sexual activity 11. Crime deemed immoral/illegal 12.Crude behavior5. Religion/witchcraft 13.Depressing/Negative6. Violence/Horror7. Racism/Sexism 14. Other8. Substance use/abuse
What teens may get out of reading “racy” booksVicarious experiences, trying out different lives Seeing the choices, the consequences Exposure to inappropriate behavior, modeling appropriate behavior (social, racial, drugs, etc.)
Documented Book Challenges 2007- 2010 Interactive map courtesy of Banned Books Week
What is a Book Challenge? Form Courtesy of BellaOnline “An attempt to remove or restrict materials based on an objection of a person or a group” (ALA Office of Intellectual
Why are books challenged?To protect others from difficult ideasand information
Before a ChallengeCreate a materials selectionpolicyCreate form and procedure forformal removal andreconsideration of materialsPublicize library’s policyEducate staffEducate patrons
Educate Objecting Parents Ask if parent has read the book/ if not, invite them to do so Clarify the source of the objection Discuss the book as a whole with parent- often objectionable material can be taken out of context Invite parent to a student/librarian book discussion
Offer Alternative TitlesSafer books on the sametopicShare alternative titles withteachers who have assignedthe reading
How to save a book from banningRead banned booksEducate others about why these books are sogreatDebate, but speak in a calm voice and directmannerReport any challenge that takes place (can getan on-line form from ALA)Get involved!
Rating and Labeling: a guide or a tool of censorship?CommonSenseMedia.org rating for Fat Kid Rules the World:Books areoversimplified – there isno context.Emphasizes elements“to watch out for” andmakes this contentnegative – bad, areason to reject it.No criteria or rating for
Young Adults & other forms of mediaInternet – CIPAMoviesTVMusicMagazinesSocial Networks
Questions for you…Have you everchallenged a book?Or wanted to?In your opinion,what books do youthink should bebanned?
References:1forAll. “The First Amendment.” 03 June 2010. Online video clip.YouTube. Accessed on 6 Feb. 2011.Eijk, Ruud Van. “Freedom of Speech?” 18 Jan. 2010. Onlinevideo clip. YouTube. Accessed on 6 Feb. 2011.1forAll. “The First Amendment.” 03 June 2010. Online video clip.YouTube. Accessed on 6 Feb. 2011.American Library Association. “ALA Intellectual Freedom Policiesand the First Amendment.” ALA. ALA, 2009. Web. 12 Dec. 2009.American Library Association. “ Code of Ethics of the AmericanLibrary Association.” ALA. ALA, 2008. Web. 30 Jan. 2011.
American Library Association. “Free Access to Libraries forMinors.” ALA. ALA, 2008. Web. 30 Jan. 2010.American Library Association. “The Freedom to Read.” ALA. ALA,2004. Web. 7 Feb. 2011.American Library Association. “Intellectual Freedom andCensorship Q & A.” ALA. ALA, 2009. Web. 11 Dec. 2009.American Library Association. “Library Bill of Rights.” ALA. ALA,1996. Web. 12 Dec. 2009.American Library Association. “Notable Quotations on the FirstAmendment, Censorship and the Freedom to Read.” ALA. ALA,2009. Web. 12 Dec. 2009.American Library Association. “Public Libraries and IntellectualFreedom.” ALA. ALA, 2009. Web. 12 Dec. 2009.
Asheim, L. (1953, September). Not censorship but selection.Wilson Library Bulletin, 28, 63-67“Banned Books and Challenges, 2007-2010.” Mapping BookCensorship, Banned Books Week, n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2011.Conkin, Barb. "Defending Intellectual Freedom." Young AdultLibrary Services 5.1 (2006): 7-8. Library, Information Science &Technology Abstracts with Full Text. EBSCO. Web. 31 Jan. 2011.“Dangerous Books? What the Hell.?” Censorship in America:Promoting Intellectual Freedom without Censorship in any Form.Censorshipinamerica.wordpress.com, 7 Sept. 2010. Web. 7 Feb.2010Dunne, Nora. “Banned Books Week 2010: Which Books Drew theMost Fire Last Year?” CSMonitor.com, Christian Science Monitor,23 Sept. 2010. Web. 3 Feb. 2011.
“Fat Kid Rules the World Book Review.” Commonsensemedia.org,Common Sense Media. 11 Feb. 2010. Web. 6 Feb. 2011.Jaeger, Paul T. and Zheng Yan. “One Law with Two Outcomes:Comparing the Implementation of CIPA in Public Libraries andSchools.” Information Technology and Libraries. (2009): 6-14.Print.Kinney, B. (2009). A duty to offend?. Alki, 25(2), 9, 11.Lowry, Rich. “Don’t Rewrite Mark Twain’s Huck Finn.”KyStandard.com.Kentucky Evening Standard, 8 Jan. 2011. Web. 3 Feb. 2011.Messent, Peter. “Censoring Mark Twain’s N-Word isUnacceptable.” Guardian.co.uk, The Guardian, 5 Jan. 2011. Web.6 Feb, 2011.
“Self-Censorship.” NCAC: National Coalition Against Censorship.NCAC, 28 Jan. 2011. Web. 31 Jan. 2011.Whelan, D. (2009). A dirty little secret. School Library Journal,55(2), 26-30.