Columbia College Chicago
Library

September 12, 2008

Book banning is alive and well in the United States

Book banning is alive and well in the United States

Are books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or the Harry Potter series available at your public or school library? According to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, due to book challenges, more than one book a day faces removal from public access in school and public libraries. Challenges are defined as formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. Office for Intellectual Freedom Director Judith Krug and Nathan Ritchie from the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum (above) discuss Banned Books Week 2008 on Chicago Access Network TV (27:33) August 27....

3 comments:

SafeLibraries.org said...

It is sad to see an institution such as this one publish such unbalanced information. "Book banning is alive and well in the United States"? False. The last book banned in the USA was many decades ago.

Consider the words of a former ALA Councilor:

"It also highlights the thing we know about Banned Books Week that we don't talk about much — the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all."

Totally different.

Here's some balance. Here's Thomas Sowell calling Banned Books Week "National Hogwash Week."

Uh oh. Comment moderation has been enabled. I wonder if this comment will see the light of day.

arkham said...

"The last book banned in the United States was decades ago."

Hmm, you might want to check your sources...according to Beacon for Freedom http://www.beaconforfreedom.org/
there have been books banned as recently as 1993 - and censorship of various levels continues to occur today.

Considering the deleterious effect that banning books and censorship have on intellectual freedom and freedom of expression, we should absolutely continue to recognize the threat posed by those who wish libraries to remove items that offend their personal sensibilities (whether those be religious, political, or any other).

SafeLibraries said...

Arkham,

Anyone can find any source to say book banning is alive and well in the USA. The ALA says it repeatedly. But that does not make it true.

I received the following from info@carnegielibrary.org:

Hello ..., from what I am able to determine the last book banned in the USA was Fanny Hill by John Cleland. On March 21, 1966 the U. S. Supreme Court reversed the ban on Fanny Hill. I'm defining banned here as a suppression by the government. Following is a quote from an opening essay (by Charles Rembar) "Censorship in America: The Legal Picture"on page xi of the book, Banned Books 387 B. C. to 1978 A. D. , 4th ed.. ;

"One of the interesting aspects of this volume, Banned Books, is that none of the books it names is banned. That is, at present, in the United States. And under the current state of the law none could be. I use the word 'banned' in its ordinary sense: suppressed, suppressed by government....In the past, book banning has happened in two ways. Books have been censored at the start and never seen the light of print....Or their publication or sale or transportation has been made a crime, so that their distribution is perilous and their reading generally sneaky. This was the method in England from 1720 on, and in this country from early in the nineteenth century until 1966."

Sincerely,
Reference Services, CLP