By: guest blogger E. F. Schraeder. The core values of librarianship urge professionals to resist all efforts to censor materials and uphold intellectual freedom. This blog offers three strategies to advocate for books and these cherished principles when a challenge occurs.
Amy Tan – “I am a writer compelled by a subconscious neediness to know, which is different from a need to know. The latter can be satisfied with information. The former is a perpetual state of uncertainty and a tether to the past”
Addressing the issue as a community allows for open and effective communication and gives students the opportunity to understand and ask questions about what is likely a confusing topic for them. Many of these students have probably already either experienced firsthand or have heard about an incident of police violence, and like it or not, they are already actively paying attention to and attempting to understand the important issues our nation is facing and their role in such situations. It is important for educators— ALL educators – to guide them through that process.
As an academic librarian with a deep interest in historical and contemporary book censorship, I can’t imagine a better way to spend my vacation than with the very books deemed too dangerous to read. This post is my first dispatch as a visiting fellow in publishing history at the Houghton Library, Harvard’s main repository of rare books and manuscripts.
Will some librarians consider it right to purge her works from library collections? We hope not.
Novelist Ray Bradbury contended over the years since Fahrenheit 451 was first published that his intent was to show how flashier technology like television could completely eclipse our appreciation for great literature. But now that his 1953 science-fiction classic has been adapted for the 21st century with a booming made-for-HBO film, does that prove he was right?
One of the key consequences of book banning is erasure. When we decide that some things are too uncomfortable to talk about, we risk losing the memory of how things happen. We lose context, we lose people, we lose the truth.
And then I read The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. You know it. You probably read it in middle school or high school as required reading. You probably giggled over those passages where Anne discuses her body. But what struck me most about this remarkable book is the, in many instances, complete normality of the teenage experience.
Every spring, I look forward to the day when the Office for Intellectual Freedom releases its annual “Top 10 Challenged Books.” What questions, issues, and topics sparked conversations for communities, schools, and the nation? Which books became the most recent proxies for our national debates, corns, and preoccupations?
My hope is that the Great American Read series and accompanying library programming across the country may draw in some of those Americans who did not read a book last year. Perhaps they will even read one of the banned books on the list and gain an appreciation for the importance of the right to read and intellectual freedom. Either way, I am thrilled to see so many banned and challenged books on a list of America’s favorite reads. My fellow readers, keep reading books that challenge the status quo and make you consider multiple perspectives.