Banned Books Week September 24-October 1, 2011. Banning a book is when a person or group decides that a book is so inappropriate in some way that NO ONE should read the book. Then the person or group has the book removed from the shelves of libraries. What does it mean to ban a book?.
Banned Books WeekSeptember 24-October 1, 2011
Banning a book is when a person or group decides that a book is so inappropriate in some way that NO ONE should read the book. Then the person or group has the book removed from the shelves of libraries.
An individual or group files a formal challenge with a school or library, requesting that a book or material be removed
The school or library forms a committee to review the material
The committee votes on if the material should be removed or retained
If the material is kept on the shelf, the person filing the complaint may file another complaint with the court system, which then will review the case
In 2010, there were 348 (down in number from 2009) REPORTED challenges. “A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.”
A book is challenged if someone requests that it be removed from library shelves.
A book is banned if the library or school agrees to remove it from circulation.
More challenges are filed against school than other institutions.
Books usually are challenged to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information.
Most librarians see challenges as grounded in good intention and pure in conviction, but they are ultimately illegal and restrictive.
Intellectual freedom (think Iran and President Ahmadinejad’s comments that the Holocaust did not happen—or at least not to the extent others believe)
Congress 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.
Books provide education on a wide variety of subjects and the opportunity to have an experience vicariously
Without a wide variety of views, change cannot occur within a society
It is not possible to experience events such as the Holocaust or life in Puritan society but these events helped shape the world we live in today and it is important to have knowledge of those events.
Without examples such as Maya Angelou’s experiences in her childhood (I know why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou), how would people who have not experienced racism learn about racism?
Without The Scarlet Letter, how would we understand Puritan society and how it operated?
Without Fahrenheit 451, how would you understand what effect burning books could have on a person and how the desire for banned items increases their interest and mystery?
In other words, reading is an opportunity to experience an event without actually living through it.
Parents and teachers are responsible for helping you select reading materials while they are still responsible for you. But as an adult, you have the freedom to read books of your choice and to decide what your children may or may not be allowed to read.
Parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.
Challenges by Year
Ordered BURNED in East St. Louis for indecency and obscenity—it actually was restricted to adults only instead of being burned
Fahrenheit 451 is about book burning and the effect that banning or censoring books has on a society
Many have objected to the “magical content” in this book, claiming it promotes witchcraft and evil content. (It was written by the daughter of Christian missionaries and she is still writing books.)
Banned in some schools and libraries because of content about the logging industry—”criminalizes the forestry industry”
7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know / Sonia Sones*
8. Nickel and Dimed / Barbara Ehrenreich*
9. Revolutionary Voices / Amy Sonnie
10. Twilight / Stephanie Meyer*
*We have these in our library
Black Beauty / Anna Sewell
Animal Farm / George Orwell
Catcher in the Rye / J. D. Salinger
Goosebumps books / R. L. Stine
Scary Stories / Alvin Schwartz
--and many more…..
The Right to Read Freely
Evans v. Selma Union High School District of Fresno County, 222 P. 801 (Ca. 1924)
The California State Supreme Court held that the King James version of the Bible was not a "publication of a sectarian, partisan, or denominational character" that a State statute required a public high school library to exclude from its collections. The "fact that the King James version is commonly used by Protestant Churches and not by Catholics" does not "make its character sectarian," the court stated. "The mere act of purchasing a book to be added to the school library does not carry with it any implication of the adoption of the theory or dogma contained therein, or any approval of the book itself, except as a work of literature fit to be included in a reference library."
Rosenberg v. Board of Education of City of New York, 92 N.Y.S.2d 344 (Sup. Ct. Kings County 1949)
After considering the charge that Oliver Twist and the Merchant of Venice are "objectionable because they tend to engender hatred of the Jew as a person and as a race," the Supreme Court, Kings County, New York, decided that these two works cannot be banned from the New York City schools, libraries, or classrooms, declaring that the Board of Education "acted in good faith without malice or prejudice and in the best interests of the school system entrusted to their care and control, and, therefore, that no substantial reason exists which compels the suppression of the two books under consideration."
Minarcini v. Strongsville (Ohio) City School District, 541 F.2d 577 (6th Cir. 1976)
The Strongsville City Board of Education rejected faculty recommendations to purchase Joseph Heller's Catch-22 and Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and ordered the removal of Catch-22 and Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle from the library. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled against the School Board, upholding the students' First Amendment right to receive information and the librarian's right to disseminate it. "The removal of books from a school library is a much more serious burden upon the freedom of classroom discussion than the action found unconstitutional in Tinker v. Des Moines School District."
Zykan v. Warsaw (Indiana) Community School Corporation and Warsaw School Board of Trustees, 631 F.2d 1300 (7th Cir. 1980)
A student brought suit seeking to reverse school officials' decision to "limit or prohibit the use of certain textbooks, to remove a certain book from the school library, and to delete certain courses from the curriculum." The district court dismissed the suit. On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that the school board has the right to establish a curriculum on the basis of its own discretion, but it is forbidden to impose a "pall of orthodoxy." The right of students to file complaints was recognized, but the court held that the students' claims "must cross a relatively high threshold before entering upon the field of a constitutional claim suitable for federal court litigation."
Exercise your rights! Read a banned book today
Talk to your neighbors about why everyone should be allowed to choose for themselves and their families what they read
If you want to know more, visit the ALA website on challenged and banned books