We in libraries can do nothing to ameliorate Mr. Rushdie’s physical pain. We can and should, however, proudly display and recommend his works. To support Mr. Rushdie and to celebrate his works is not to attack a religion. It is only to excoriate, as we should, the mindless and soulless adherence to the wrong-headed, hateful, and evil interpretation of a religion promulgated by mere–and mistaken–men.
While book banning is a growing trend nationwide, the majority of successful book bans happening right now seem to be occurring in rural areas (both fringe and remote rural) as well as some suburban areas. The initiatives and toolkits presently available for all librarians are great, but they are created by urban LIS professionals and best-suited for urban and suburban audiences. The current rhetoric used in these one-size-fits-all toolkits may not be effective in rural areas.
When critically acclaimed author Brandy Colbert was asked to speak to a school district in Texas for African American Read-In Day during Black History Month, she never could have imagined that the school district would find her non-fiction book about the Tulsa Race Massacre to be “too controversial.”
Guest Post by David Sohn, Copyright and Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens (C&C). Ideally, students learn to access, move, re-share, and re-use creative content in all kinds of ways that are legal and ethical; they also know the rules of the road for producing their own creative works. Yet teaching copyright in a way that encourages and promotes free expression can be a significant challenge. Copyright is a complicated legal subject with significant gray areas. Teachers may feel ill-equipped to cover it with their students.
Educators need a set of copyright lessons that is easy to use and that gives plenty of attention to concepts such as fair use, the public domain, and Creative Commons: accessible materials that focus on what copyright enables and permits, not just what it prohibits.
This year, the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA) has expanded its Data Privacy Day to a week! Data Privacy Day started in 2008 as a North American complement to Data Protection Day in Europe.
The purpose of Data Privacy Week is to help “spread awareness about online privacy and [educate] citizens on how to manage their personal information and keep it secure” and to “ [encourage] businesses to respect data and be more transparent about how they collect and use customer data.”
The ALA Executive Board and the Boards of Directors for all of ALA’s eight divisions have released a joint statement opposing widespread efforts to censor books in U.S. schools and libraries.
Guest Post by Sara Stevenson. As Michael Moore once said: “Librarians are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them.”
Guest blog post by Martha Hickson. Although certain titles are trendy targets now, book challenges will be an issue for the long run. That’s because, ultimately, no book is the perfect fit for every reader, especially works that tackle difficult topics reflecting real-world circumstances. But one reader’s objection is not a license to restrict all other readers from the book.
In October 2021, a local petition to ban books by Newbery Medal-winning author Jerry Craft resulted in the postponement of his appearance in front of a Texas school district. Dissenters claim the book teaches critical race theory and therefore should not be taught in schools. The following is Craft’s response to the petition.
OIF tracked 156 challenges to library, school and university materials and services in 2020. This is a complete list of book titles that were banned, challenged, or restricted during the year.