Friends of the Library


I meant to wrap-up Banned Books Week on Friday, then Saturday, and didn’t even think about it Sunday.

Yes, it was a lovely weekend…despite my Cold & Allergies.

I don’t know if you follow Marie at The Boston Bibliophile but she had an excellent post Friday (Oct 1) on “Censorship in the Real World.” Marie is a Librarian and shares her experience and perspective on Censorship:

Censorship can take lots of different forms, some blatant, like the kinds of challenges that make the headlines, and some subtle- little things that go on behind the scenes all the time. When I ran a library, my responsibilities included everything, including selecting books. Like many librarians, I relied on my own judgment coupled with guidance from professional review journals. No library has the staff or the money or the space to buy every book, even in a specialty like mine, so we all make choices. Do those choices constitute a form of censorship?

Her post is thought-provoking. Check it out.

The daughter did a wonderful job reading Banned Books.  She started with Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. We talked about the concerns that children might mimic the poor behaviors of some of the poems, and whether Silverstein has some dangerous ideas.

We, as a family, finished J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows: book 7 next (both Sean and I trying our best to read aloud through tearfully constricted throats).  We talked a bit about the angst people have about the Series. The inevitable question of “should you read it to decide for yourselves? or do you trust someone’s judgment on the matter?” As a growing-up-girl, this becomes more frequent a conversation for N.

The Giver by Lois Lowry garnered a fantastic discussion at the dinner table about censorship and exploring the whys and why-nots. With regards to The Giver specifically, Natalya said that it makes you think and start to question whether the way things are are really as good as they appear to be.

I know N read at least one Roald Dahl book, then she read us The Witches aloud on Saturday–her audio-versions get better and better. And Sean and I were grossed out more than once by the images rendered–it was great!

As for myself… I intended to read George Orwell’s 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I read the latter–which is excellent by the way—and oh the many reasons why this book is challenged/banned! I will collect thoughts and post on it. I did read David Small’s Stitches and in its way it was thematic: his mother burns his books with Vladamir Nabokov’s Lolita called out as the exemplar. That moment was actually a quite complex criticism on parents, censorship, and protection. As this book gets around a bit more, I’m sure a ruckus will ensue. –do not let your ignorant, self-serving parents keep you down, etc.

My reading of challenged/banned books will continue, as a matter of coincidence…

Thanks to Friends of the Library and their book sale this weekend we now (coincidentally) own a few more challenged/banned books amidst the haul. It was nice to see people carting away full boxes. It was hard to watch parents who told their children only one or two books each–for various reasons–when most of the children’s through YA books were under mostly .50 or $1.  I should plan for those moments with crisp ones and fives to tuck into pockets.

Ah, book budgets, and their non-existence…I am thankful for Libraries and their Friends.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Aye, our library had a FotL sale, too, but mostly we had only non-fiction and dreadfully old books, as wells as scads of VHS tapes. Too bad. I left without buying a single book.

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