“George” Tops Most Challenged List for Third Year in a Row: “Stamped” Takes No. 2 Spot” in School Library Journal. “Caldwell-Stone says these challenges to “classics” are a reflection of the critical evaluation of books and curricula that is happening in schools. The OIF does not support removing any books from library shelves. “It’s firmly our position that books ought not be censored in any way, but rather that the opportunity to discover and read diverse authors should be expanded in schools, so that you can illuminate and interrogate the older texts by reading the newer texts that reflect other viewpoints, diversity of points, that reflect the views and ideas of BIPOC authors in particular,” she said.”
In 2020, more than 273 books were challenged or banned. Demands to remove books addressing racism and racial justice or those that shared the stories of Black, Indigenous, or people of color grew in number. At the same time, books addressing themes and issues of concern for LGBTQIA+ people continued to dominate the list.
This post includes the top 10 most challenged books of 2020, and a description of challenges that were reported in the news in 2020, available in the compiled booklet Field Report 2020: Banned & Challenged Books on the ALA Store.
“Martin Garnar Receives IFRT Immroth Memorial Award” — Martin Garnar, Director of Amherst College Library, is an active leader of the ALA intellectual freedom community, having served the profession in every capacity imaginable. Throughout his career, Martin has served as a trustee and president of the Freedom to Read Foundation, chair of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, chair of the ALA Committee on Professional Ethics, chair of the IFC Privacy Subcommittee, trustee of the Leroy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund, editor of the 10th edition and co-editor of the 9th edition of the Intellectual Freedom Manual, and councilor of IFRT.
“How libraries approach the Dr. Seuss books is going to differ,” said OIF Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone, “based on individual guidelines for collection curation and community demand for certain books.” The Dr. Seuss Controversy: What Educators Need to Know (Education Week)
This post introduces readers to the 10 candidates running for the 2021 IFRT Executive Board, which includes such positions as President, Treasurer, Director at Large, and Councilor.
ALA Statement on Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping; “The American Library Association opposes the Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping and all other actions that result in the curtailment of free expression and social justice, and pledges to continue to pursue social justice and further our work against systems of oppression.”
Surveillance. Censorship. Disinformation. Distrust. The information war marches on. This post offers specific suggestions for safeguarding one’s own mind in the “fog and friction” of information warfare, including privacy, “ladder reading,” open-mindedness, asking critical questions, and taking a “trust pause.”
4chan, the image board the Internet loves to hate, is an undeniable cultural force. From Anonymous to doxxing, memespeak to hate speech, lolcats to troll brigades, could 4chan be so bad it’s good? This essay makes four moral arguments in favor of 4chan and its role in the social web: moral outsourcing, anonymity, freedom of expression, and epistemic agency.
This year’s (Sept. 27 – Oct. 3) Banned Books Week theme — Censorship is a Dead End. Find Your Freedom to Read — draws attention to the barriers these censorship incidents enact, making it harder for readers to navigate the world and explore new perspectives. Free shareable graphics, coloring sheets, and cover photos can be found at ala.org/bbooks/freedownloads.
Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag.
Douglas County Library Board of Trustees will investigate library director, staff over support for BLM movement: “The letter explains and reiterates the fact that libraries have been engaged in the important work of ridding libraries of racism and policies that reflect racism either implicitly or explicitly for a number of years,” said Caldwell-Stone. “This is a particular goal of the ALA and other library associations, to ensure that everyone receives fair treatment and equal access to the library, and finds the library to be a welcoming and inclusive institution in the community.”