AASL formally dissuades school librarians from labeling items according to content and reading level.
The ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee has just released their Intellectual Freedom Programming Toolkit. Intellectual freedom is not just for Banned Books Week, and this toolkit offers ways to provide bitesize servings of important IF concepts at any time of year. Rather than replacing existing programs with IF-centered activities, we can embed those ideas in popular programming that’s already being done.
A U.S. Court of Appeals upholds an elementary school’s decision not to publish a 4th grade student’s essay encouraging people to stop bullying transgender people.
Slaughterhouse-Five has been subject to banning, challenges and even burning for decades. The American Library Association lists the title in it’s Banned and Challenged Classics page, citing a book burning in North Dakota in 1973 and a variety of bans and challenges due to language, sexual references and even because it “contains and makes references to religious matters.” ALA notes only two instances of retention after the book was challenged.
Recently, I was able to speak to Ms. Larson regarding this situation. Her commitment to intellectual freedom and dedication to fostering an antiracist learning environment for her students is evident in her discussion of the challenge to Stamped. Not every educator is in the position to fight back against a challenge: it can be a risk to their professional reputation or even their job security. But if they’re able to do so, it always makes a difference, even if censorship prevails in that particular incident. As Ms. Larson states below: “Fight for the kids. They will know. They always know.”
“Did you see this? A textbook for a class on anime at Kent State was challenged by state reps,” my coworker told me a few weeks ago. I read the entire debacle and I rolled my eyes so hard I think I got a headache. Another ignorant American who doesn’t understand another culture but also wants to enforce American morality upon it, I thought. But I digress – by now we all know the story about Anime From Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle and its challenge. If you would like to know more about anime and how it relates to western comic books/graphic novels, fear not! I, Gina the old millennial otaku, will help you.
I felt fairly prepared to handle a materials challenge, but as I talk with other librarians, I see this is an area of great concern.
The Poet X and its perceived challenge to the Establishment Clause is called into question by a North Carolina couple seeking to shield their son from “negative” depictions of Catholicism in fiction provided by the local public school system.
When Kent State refused to violate the First Amendment and its policies on academic freedom, Ohio Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus threatened to cut millions of dollars of funding in retaliation, and hopes to pass legislation imposing his views on public universities.
This Executive Order is not only censorship but extortion too. The Federal Government is censoring intellectual ideas and curriculum to continue its endemic ignorance of racism in this country. It is intimidating organizations addressing racism by withholding funds by threatening sanctions and debarment.