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Censorship

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James DiStasio

on 27 April 2010

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Transcript of Censorship

Censorship History of Censorship What is Censorship? Why is Censorship an issue? Overview 360 BC
Printing Press William Pynchon Anthony Comstock
“Comstock Law”
National Level
Public and Local Level Most people, when talking about censorship and children's literature, think that censorship is not allowing a child to read a book because they are too young to handle the subject matter.
Censorship of children's literature is deciding that no child, regardless of age or maturity level, can read a book. SIKE!
ITS NOT! Issue of First Amendment “Local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books …”
U.S. Supreme Court in Board of Education, Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) The Pico case is the most important court decision to date concerning school libraries and the First Amendment. Shift from Small Businesses to Corporations Loss of originality and expression- which is the American way. :( What is Censored? Teaching Censored Books Recent Censorship Combating Censorship Top 10 Challenged Books in 2009 1. “TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
2. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3. “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
4. “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee
5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
6. “Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger
7. “My Sister’s Keeper,” by Jodi Picoult
8. “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things,” by Carolyn Mackler
9. “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker
10. “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier Why was it challenged?
Alleged violence
Use of the word “slut”
May desensitize children to crimes related to witchcraft
May entice children into becoming involved in the occult
Satanic material
Children misbehave and take retribution on adults
Did not teach moral values
Depicted witches as ordinary-looking women
My Brother Sam Is Dead
by James L. Collier and Christopher Collier
Why was it challenged?
Profanity and violence
Using the names of God and Jesus in a vain and profane matter
Inappropriate sexual references
Removed from 5th grade classes in Ohio & California for:
Graphic violence and offensive language
Containin the words “bastard,” “goddamn,” and “hell”
Overall did not represent ethical values appropriate for the age group
Going to Court: Counts v. Cedarville School District (2003) The Cedarville, Arkansas school board voted to restrict students’ access to the Harry Potter books because they felt the book promoted disobedience, disrespect for the authority, and dealt with witchcraft and the occult.

-The District Court argued that the restriction violated the students’ First Amendment right to read and receive information. While the school board was acting in the best interest of the successful operations of their schools, they were still bound by the Bill of Rights and could not prevent students from reading a book because of an opposition to the book’s content.

Essential Preparation

•Dealing with concerns about Library Resources
•Checklist and ideas for library staff working with community leaders
•Kids and libraries: what you should know
•The censor: Motives and Tactics
•Workbook for Selection Policy Writing
•Guidelines and consideration for developing a public library internet use policy
•Developing a confidentiality policy


•Banned Books Week-September 25-October 2 2010, Promotes awareness of books that have been challenged, not banned and the support to keep these books in the libraries. The website offers suggestions for how libraries can advertise Banned Books Week through displays in the libraries and bookstores.

•Example: The Illinois State Library displayed banned books behind brown paper, carefully ripped to illustrate the display.

•Example of Bulletin Board: Top Ten Most Outrageous Reasons to Ban a Book

Censorship in Public/Private School Strategies for Teaching Challenged Books Conditions vary so much that no universal guidelines apply
Some states, textbooks are purchased with public funds, others students are responsible for their own texts

Generally, easier to teach controversial material in private school no taxpayer money, town school boards Committees Rationales National Council of Teachers of English recommends forming committee of teachers (students, parents, other community members also encouraged) in order to:
Inform community about book selections
Enlist support of citizens by explaining literature’s place in educational process and discussing books with parents
Deal with complaints against a work, possible issues relating to community Explanation for teaching a specific work Invaluable for teachers as a means of preemptively dealing with challenges to literature
Minimally, rationales should include: Citation and intended audience

Brief summary of work and the educational significance
Purposes of using the work and how it will be used
Potential problems with the work and how they might be handled
Alternative works for students A Good Rationale will:

Be well thought out
Avoid specialized jargon, be written so that anybody can read it
Be specific and thorough Dealing with Challengers Classroom teacher is usually first person the complainer is referred to
Treat person with warm, professional demeanor
Avoid commitments, admissions of guilt, or threats
Listen more then you talk, practice active listening, take time to understand and acknowledge individual’s concern
Have facts and other support materials ready to distribute The Witches
by Raold Dahl Students were required to obtain a signed permission slip before being allowed to borrow Harry Potter books from school libraries.
The District Court then the Board’s decision and returned the books to unrestricted circulation. •“ALA promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them”
•The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom is a division of the ALA, which focuses on protecting the access of the written word and providing resources to promote the obtainment of intellectual freedom.

Library Bill of Rights

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.

Definitions to Clarify Terminology Associated with Challenges

•Expression of Concern. An inquiry that has judgmental overtones.
•Oral Complaint. An oral challenge to the presence and/or appropriateness of the
•material in question.
•Written Complaint. A formal, written complaint filed with the institution (library, school, etc.), challenging the presence and/or appropriateness of specific material.
•Public Attack. A publicly disseminated statement challenging the value of the material, presented to the media and/or others outside the institutional organization in order to gain public support for further action.
•Censorship. A change in the access status of material, based on the content of the work and made by a governing authority or its representatives. Such changes include exclusion, restriction, removal, or age/grade level changes.


ALA Initiatives

•Choose Privacy Campaign-Campaign for protecting the right to “read search, and learn in a digital age”
•Choose privacy week (May 2-May 8)-Hopes that libraries will share video and host events to promote campaign
•“Librarians feel a professional responsibility to protect the right to search for information free from surveillance. Privacy has long been the cornerstone of library services in America.
•“http://www.privacyrevolution.org/
•Poster for the Choose Privacy Campaign
Reporting Challenges

•The ALA maintains a confidential database based on information from newspapers and individual reports.
•Reports from newspaper are compiled into the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom
•These reports and then compiled in Banned Books Week resource Guide
•Individual reports are kept confidential, only the titles will be released, and this list is compiled into Frequently Challenged Books List for Banned Books Week
Challenge Support

How to report a challenged book:
1.Challenge hearing/advice on hearing procedures
2.Read, view or listen to the challenged material in its entirety;
3.Review the selection process and the criteria for selection;
4.Check reviews and recommended lists to determine recommendations by the experts and critics;
5.Meet to discuss the challenge; and
6.Make a recommendation to the administrator on removal, retention, or replacement.
The American Library Association
Resource: http://www.ala.org
The American Library Association is a nonprofit organization that promotes libraries and library education. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world founded in 1876 and with more than 65,000 members.
•Purpose: “The object of the American Library Association shall be to promote library service and librarianship.”
•Mission: ” The stated mission is, “To provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” •Motto: The best reading, for the largest number, at the least cost.
•(Adopted 1892; reinstated by the ALA Council, 1988)
•Seven Key Action Areas: Diversity, Equity of Access, Education and Continuous Learning, Intellectual Freedom, and 21st Century Literacy, Advocacy for Libraries and the Profession, Organizational Excellence
1.“Encourages children to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.” (A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstien)
2.“It caused a wave of rapes.” (Arabian Nights, or Thousand and One Nights, anonymous)
3.“If there is a possibility that something might be controversial, then why not eliminate it?” (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown)
4.“Tarzan was ‘living in sin’ with Jane.” (Tarzan, by Edgar Rice Burroughs)
5.“It is a real ‘downer.’” (Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank)
6.“The basket carried by Little Red Riding Hood contained a bottle of wine, which condones the use of alcohol.” (Little Red Riding Hood, by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm K. Grimm)
7.“One bunny is white and the other is black and this ‘brainwashes’ readers into accepting miscegenation.” (The Rabbit’s Wedding, by Garth Williams)
8.“It is a religious book and public funds should not be used to purchase religious books.” (Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, by Walter A. Elwell, ed.)
9.“A female dog is called a bitch.” (My Friend Flicka, by Mary O’Hara)
10.“An unofficial version of the story of Noah’s Ark will confuse children.” (Many Waters, by Madeleine C. L’Engle)


•Lawyers for Libraries- “an ongoing project of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, is designed to build a nationwide network of attorneys committed to the defense of the First Amendment freedom to read and the application of constitutional law to library policies, principles, and problems.”

•Law for Librarians-training sessions covering the legal basis of libraries’ intellectual freedom principles

•Online Training-“webinars” entitiled "Controversial Materials in the Library: Supporting Intellectual Freedom in Your Community.” What's the difference between a challenge and a banning? Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. What Kinds of Books are Challenged? the material was considered to be "sexually explicit" the material contained "offensive language" the materials was "unsuited to any age group"
Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. the removal of those materials. Challenge Banning Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.
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