Books are a gray area...

Books are a gray area...
Photo by austinevan

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One of us...

I found this blog for another library school's intellectual freedom class (of particular interest to me because I'm currenly enrolled in a similar course). But this is a post by one of the students about book censorship,

The statistic that at least a book a day is challenged is sort of scary. And since the history of Anthony Comstock was so prevelent in the book Purity in Print, I especially liked the question about if interlibrary loans could fall subject to the 1873 Comstock laws. Something to think about the next time you order a book!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Time flies like the wind...

but fruit flies like bananas!

So in studying views on censorship through time, I came across some resources to share. Along with the book and websites below, here are a number of articles about and views of censorship from 1897 through 2007.

The Boston public library and books that tend to encourage anarchic doctrine. (October, 1897). Bookman, 6, 88-89.

Sayers, W.C.B. (1928). The banning of books in libraries. Library Review, 1 (5), 184-187.

Foster, H. H. Jr. (1957). The “Comstock load.” Obscenity and the law. Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Political Science. 48(3), 245-258.

Meyers, D. (1977, February 15). Boys and girls and sex and libraries. Library Journal, 102(4), 457-463. Retrieved November 18, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.

Eidus, J. (1992, Oct.). Censorship from without; censorship from within: chilling trends. ANQ. 5(4), 188-190.

O’Sullivan, M.K. and O’Sullivan, C.J. (2007). Selection or censorship: libraries and the intelligent design debate. Library Review, 56 (3), 200-207.

and the ones from below...

Websites related to censorship:

National Coalition Against Censorship. (2008). NCAC - National Coalition AgainstCensorship. Retrieved 11/4/2008 from:

Parents Against Bad Books in Schools. (2008). Controversial and challenged books in schools -PABBIS. Retrieved 11/4/2008 from:

American Library Association, (2008). American Library Association: Banned Books Week. Retrieved 11/4/2008 from:

And a book:

Boyer, P. S. (2002). Purity in print: Book censorship in America from the gilded age to the computer age, 2nd edition. Madison, WS: University of Wisconsin Press.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A little too graphic

Do comic books seem to be getting increasingly edgy? Pushing the limits of art and storytelling with their visual depictions? Corrupting young minds?

Well this isn't a new complaint. This site has a general history of comic book censorship through the decades.

Still going strong, even the history of comics is being challenged and censored. In California, Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics was challenged due to a mother's complaint. Here's some articles collected about this particular case.

A book which can be considered an history of a modern art genre is not allowed to be circulated. Next will images of Renaissance art be taken off shelves?

And an article from 1997 about the history and escalation of comic prosecutions:

For those interested in looking deeper into this, here's a great bibliography from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Banned books and other forms of censorship: Independent bookstore in Moscow challenged

While I really want to focus on book challenges and bans in the U.S., it would be pretty narrow minded of me not to bring up anything about the books challenged and banned all over the world. Let us always remember that the freedoms that let us challenge books are the same that let us keep them.

I came across this great blog that has a number of international censorship concerns.

Banned books and other forms of censorship: Independent bookstore in Moscow challenged

What is really interesting is the mention of how the market is getting monopolized by megabookstores. While not censored, sometimes smaller independent stores have to deal with the pressures of not being able to compete with larger chains. It's much easier to control one large thing that a bunch of small ones. Something we might have to watch out for in the future...

Also on this blog is a little about the distruction of libraries in Iran since the 1980's. Perhaps it's just because I'm so much of a bibliophile, but I feel that the destruction of those books, the lost culture and history, is a crime against humanity.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

K.L. Going

I was directed t the blog of K.L. Going, author of Fat Kid Rules the World. These posts in particular deal with responses and challenges to her book.

That's probably the best part about blogs, the direct intercourse between people. An author is able to connect to readers around the world, and learn the effect of their writing.

The comments are amazing, so many different views are accounted for! People get so passionate about this subject. Book challenges are raised a few notches when kids are involved, it seems.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I vant to suck your... books?

So with all this hype over the new movie Twilight, I was wondering why there was no uproar like over the Harry Potter novels. While talking to a friend, I realized that I was under a rock, because there has been. However this was not because of the supernatural forces, but because of age appropriate materials.

It turns out that in an Orange County school district, the books were banned for about 4 days, then inexplicably returned to library shelves...

And in slightly more depth:

I agree with some of the comments below the article, that people are objecting to books, when there is so much more out there on the Internet and film which they could be objecting to. I'm not saying that they should object, only what they chose to focus on is interesting. It's a story, and the fantasy genre is a particularly interesting medium to explore the issues facing a developing personality (i.e. children and young adults), because they are able to bring them more fully to light. It's a sort of empathy. Your parents don't like your boyfriend? Well, at least he's not a vampire!

I'm trying to get a chance to read these books (right now school is really getting in the way *sigh*).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Brave New World?

I came across this article from earlier this month up in Idaho, how a school board is trying to prevent the use of Brave New World in ciriculum. What got me most was its satirical tone.

Yes, please, let's block a book that's over 70 years old. That literature is bound to start a fire any day now...