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BBW-2011

Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom:

  1. the material was considered to be “sexually explicit”
  2. the material contained “offensive language”
  3. the materials was “unsuited to any age group”

Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (ALA’s basic policy concerning access to information) states that, “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.

As Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., in Texas v. Johnson , said most eloquently:

If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

If we are to continue to protect our First Amendment, we would do well to keep in mind these words of Noam Chomsky:

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.

Or these words of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas (” The One Un-American Act.” Nieman Reports , vol. 7, no. 1, Jan. 1953, p. 20):

Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.

~American Library Association website.

ALA is hosting a Virtual Readout : check it out and here

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The lovely Margot at “Joyfully Retired” is supporting BBW, and posted today on Judy Blume who has 5 titles on the 100 most challenged/banned books list.

Even if you are not necessarily a Kurt Vonnegut fan, I think this is a particularly good BBW video.

One thought on “BBW-2011

  1. Thanks so much for highlighting my post on Judy Blume’s banned books. It is still shocking every time someone attempts to limit the rights of readers to have access to books of their choice. I sure liked the video by the librarian at the Vonnegut library. It’s obvious we all need to keep talking about this issue.

thoughts? would love to hear them...

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