The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a list of books banned for lay Roman Catholic readership. Officially — though the Church was never fully explicit in its means of prosecution of such rules — any individual who dared read any books included on this list risked excommunication and, thus, spiritual damnation.
The American Library Association defines Intellectual freedom as “the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question cause or movement may be explored.”
‘P is for Palestine’ is an Alphabet children’s book written by Dr. Golbarg Bashi and illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi. A local bookstore that helped publish the book was told to distance themselves from the publication and author or they would not be able to participate in a book fair.
An exhibit of artwork by current and former Guantanamo Bay detainees was recently on display at John Jay College. Because of the unique circumstances of the artists and their artwork, this show caught the attention of the Pentagon, which issued—then retracted—a statement threatening the destruction of these pieces.
With my college students, I wanted to acknowledge challenging discussions that arise when we talk about books, and explain why I choose books that focus on social and cultural issues, and I want them to think about how they might address these issues in their own classrooms when they become teachers.
By: guest blogger Larry Weidman. A local Temple, TX resident speaks out at the library board meeting to discuss the controversial Pride Month display: “As frequent visitor and contributor to the library, frankly, the ‘controversy’ infuriated me.”
Likewise, it says a great deal about the importance of librarians, library paraprofessionals, museum curators, archivists, educators, and anyone else involved in the protection and promotion of cultural heritage and protection of intellectual freedom. Knuth’s book demonstrates that librarians can be active participants in protecting cultural history, or they can be twisted to add legitimacy to the regime’s propaganda.
For those familiar with censorship in China, the Chinese government’s banning of books on the politics and history of its leaders (both past and present) is not a new phenomenon.
Let me repeat that. Trump attempted to halt the publication of a book about him just because he didn’t like it. That, my friends, is censorship. It is a violation of the First Amendment. And it is unconstitutional.
Alexandra Alter muses on whether or not the common practice of sensitivity editing sanitizes the work of authors writing outside their experience to the detriment of freedom of expression. Alter interviews authors and other book professionals about their experiences with sensitivity reading and internet backlash against books that readers feel have not gone through rigorous vetting before being published.