On this day 20 years ago, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion striking down the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”). This statute constituted the first attempt by Congress to regulate the content of material on the Internet. The CDA made it a crime to place content on the Internet that was ‘indecent’ or ‘patently offensive’ if that content would be accessed by minors under the age of 18.
In May of 2015, Hood County Library in Granbury, Texas, found itself in the middle of a censorship attempt that led then-Director Courtney Kincaid to leave that library for both professional and personal reasons. Courtney shared her story with me.
Trigger warnings, initially designed to give advance notice of content potentially detrimental to those who have suffered trauma, have made their way into everyday situations and become code for ‘stuff that may be offensive or upsetting.’
When Jay Asher is approached by librarians, educators and others fighting censorship of his book, he shares emails from readers expressing what they gained from reading the book.
The decision to pull all of the yearbooks smacks of viewpoint discrimination. Justice William Brennan in his dissent on Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier warned that the decision to protect students from controversial or sensitive topics is actually “camouflage” for viewpoint discrimination: “Even in its capacity as educator the State may not assume an Orwellian ‘guardianship of the public mind.”
Two weeks ago, students at the University of Texas at Dallas campus found two Qur’ans in the toilet.
This article first appeared in American Libraries in October 2002 and connects Lester Asheim’s timeless arguments and applies them to the cyber age. Asheim’s article is still cited by library science community decades later when dealing with the problems of cyber materials.
ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released its list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2016, and as usual, the majority of books are for children and teens.
Two book challenge examples demonstrate that there is no possible way to know ahead of time what challenges will come or from whom they will come.
The latest controversy over Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, brought on by proposed legislation from Arkansas State Rep. Kim Hendren, is at an end. The bill died in committee, so Zinn — and everything by or about him — is still allowed (by state law anyway) in Arkansas public school curricula.