Friday, April 16, 2010

Banned books watch

The American Library Association has produced the 2009 list of the most frequently challenged books:


1. “TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs
2. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality
3. “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide
4. “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
6. “Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
7. “My Sister’s Keeper,” by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence
8. “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things,” by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
9. “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
10. “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Nudity? In a book?

And how depressing it is to see To Kill A Mockingbird in that list still, after all these years.

I was fortunate enough to be at the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) Conference in 2002 when it adopted the Glasgow Declaration. This important rallying call to librarians includes the following:

Libraries and information services shall acquire, preserve and make available the widest variety of materials, reflecting the plurality and diversity of society. The selection and availability of library materials and services shall be governed by professional considerations and not by political, moral and religious views.


Any librarian who is not able to uphold that declaration 100% should not be a librarian.

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