The works of Donatien Alphonse François (1740-1814), better known as the Marquis de Sade, were banned nearly-immediately upon publication by both the King of France Louis XVI and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and remained so for over two centuries. Combined, his books have been banned for nearly 1000 years (more than 200 years apiece). Who was the man alternatively called the “Divine Marquis” and the author of the “most abominable book ever engendered by the most depraved imagination?”
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has included the American Library Association on their annual “Dirty Dozen” list of sexual exploitation enablers. You might be led to believe that the ALA was promoting open, free, and unfettered access to pornography—it’s not. Instead, NCOSE is targeting something alltogether different–the freedom of library patrons.
EBSCO, and the Colorado Library Consortium, have been sued by parents seeking to remove EBSCO research databases from Colorado schoolrooms, based on spurious claims that the databases access “pornography.” The problem here isn’t pornography in library databases. The problem is a group of people who believe their prudery should be public policy.
Most librarians are aware of books that get challenged and the tools needed to protect their library against censorship, but censorship can also affect our digital content, whether it’s databases, e-books, streaming content, apps or electronic tools. Be aware of the current trend in challenges to these materials and how ALA is working with librarians and vendors to protect access to these great resources.