Friday, September 28, 2007

Banned Books Week Day 3!

Ahhh, are you ready for those random few folks who decide to bypass the paperwork and do the censoring themselves? I’m not sure anyone can ever be prepared for that type of person, but here we go, the challenges found in “Banned Books” by Robert P. Doyle that reflect a bad form of censorship.

Boswell, Robert. Mystery Ride. Harper; Knopf; Thorndike Pr. Expurgated by an apparent self-appointed censor at the Coquille, Oreg. Public Library (1994) along with several other books. Most were mysteries and romances in which single words and sexually explicit passages were whited out by a vandal who left either dots or solid ink pen lines where the words had been.

Ellis, Bret Easton. American Psycho. Random; Simon. The Carthage, Mo public librarian (1991) was directed first “to take the book of the shelf and keep it under the circulation desk” and then “lose it.” The incident involving the novel “snowballed” and was one of the reasons why, under protest, the librarian submitted her resignation.

Hastings, Selina. Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady. Lothrop; Macmillan. Challenged at the public libraries of Saginaw, Mich. (1989). The complainant requested the library to “white out the swearing” which appears on page 16 of the book. The objectionable words were “God Damn You.” Challenged at the elementary school libraries in Antigo, Wis. (1992) because a parent objected to a reference to the Loathly Lady as a “hell-hag” and to another passage in which the Black Knight suggests that King Arthur “roast in hell.”

Jaivin, Linda. Eat Me. Broadway Bks. Removed from the Marion County Public Library in Ocala, Fla. (2003). The library directed noted that the Australian bestseller was removed because the library lacks a designated erotica collection, and the novel met only three of seventeen criteria used to evaluate books for acquisition. The Marion County Public Library Advisory Board recommended that the library director retain the novel. The board’s vote was only a suggestion and the final decision went back to the library director. In Feb. 2004, the director reversed her earlier decision, reinstated the novel, and stated that her personal dislike for the book overshadowed her objectivity and adherence to policy.

Kroll, Ken. Enabling Romance: A Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships for the Disabled. First Woodline House. Removed from the Clifton, N.J. Public Library (1996) and replaced with a dummy book made of styrofoam. The library’s new policy restricts to adults any material containing “patently offensive graphic illustrations or photographs of sexual or excretory activities or contact as measured by contemporary community standards for minors.”

Silverstein, Shelf. The Giving Tree. Harper. Removed from a locked reference collection at the Boulder, Colo. Public Library (1988). The book was locked away originally because the librarian considered it sexist.

I bet you’re wondering about that book you keep going back for and the librarian says, “It’s not available.” Hmmm. Well, tomorrow we’re going to look at a couple of taboo subjects and see how they fare under the challengers hand.


Sparky Duck said...

I heard last week there was some woman refusing to return a book to the library because it talks about sex for kids. She offered to pay for it, which makes no sense since the library would just buy another one.

Tilly Greene said...

You have to love the mindset of a self-censorer - not quite reality based :-)

There was one where a parent complained about a book, the librarian pulled and followed all the procedures to handle the challenge fairly [committee look at and vote on what they'd do, then it usually goes to a lawyer to determine if it is a dangerous book]. When it was returned to the shelves, same family checked it out and the dog chewed it up. Because the book was out-of-print, the library couldn't repurchase it. The lengths people will go to have their own way.

Unknown said...

Heh I would have found another copy and put a ban on that family getting it. I really think a banned book library is worth doing.

Anonymous said...

I have never believed in banning books. I know I read books that were "above my level" but I had read all the other books. LOL

Instead of banning books, they could just put them in a seperate section. Of course that would have made me want to read them more when I was a kid. :-)

I had never heard of taking out a book from the library and not returning it because you didn't want others to read it. Talk about stupid!

Tilly Greene said...

Neither do I Chris - I'm more of a "walk away and find what does float your boat" kind of person.

Personally, I'm glad I read above my level [and that was with a 3rd grade teacher at home], it made me hungry for more books, and thankfully that feeling has never gone away.