A Michigan parent’s complaint that Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition is too frank for middle schoolers and should be replaced with an older, expurgated edition has been rejected by the local school board.
Pat Scales, chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, answers readers’ questions about censorship. This month, Scales addresses what to do when your school has inflexible or strict Internet filters, including strategies for aiding students in completing research assignments and advice on instituting new policies for challenged materials.
No matter how many school classrooms I visit, tours I lead, or new patrons I welcome into the library, I cannot help but stare in shock every time I am asked, “What is the cost of a membership?” Once I realize they aren’t asking me a reference question (the local Costco fee is $55 per household, and the nearest gym charges $83 per month) I respond, “Unless you drop a book in the bath tub or return something past its due date we will never charge you for anything—ever—at this library.”
After a directive by Chicago Public Schools last week to restrict student access for all grades below 11 to Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s award-winning memoir about growing up during the Iranian Revolution, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett quickly issued a memo clarifying that the graphic novel should remain on library shelves. However, educators remain wary about the classroom restrictions, prompting the ALA’s Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation to respond.
Oh, Mama!: What to do when a parent wants to narrow her child’s reading choices | Scales on Censorship January 2013
As I was preparing a library card for a new student, she handed me a two-page list of books that her mother won’t allow her to read. Then later on, her mother called and told me she expected me to monitor what her daughter was reading. What should I do?
You need to tell the mother that it’s not your role to monitor students’ reading. If she has an issue with the titles that her daughter chooses, then she [...]
Got a great story to tell about a banned book or another disturbing incident involving censorship? Then encourage your teens to enter the 2012 Youth Free Expression Project’s (YFEP) film contest—and give them a chance to win up to $1,000 and a free trip to the Big Apple.
The annual competition, open to kids 19 and under, hopes to educate youth about their First Amendment rights and the importance of free speech. It’s a perfect way to teach a lesson on [...]
ACLU Files Suit Against Utah School District for Removing Polacco’s ‘In Our Mothers’ House’ from General Circulation
Mum’s the Word: What to do when a pushy principal has questionable principles | Scales on Censorship
In addition to reading your column, what’s the best way to keep up with news about censorship?
Start by checking out the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (www.ala.org/offices/oif), which maintains a database of challenges to library materials. These challenges are reported in its Intellectual Freedom Newsletter ($50 a year), unless the person reporting the challenge asks ALA to keep the information confidential. Another helpful resource is Robert P. Doyle’s Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read [...]
This week marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week, an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read. We caught up by email with bestselling author Lauren Myracle, who ranked number one on the American Library Association’s top 10 most frequently challenged books in 2011 and 2009—and who also made the list in 2008 and 2007.
By Anita Silvey
The Edwards Award-winner talks about <i>The Giver</i>’s controversial past and, yes, its enigmatic ending
By Anita Silvey — School Library Journal, 06/01/2007
Who would’ve guessed that the author of a sci-fi masterpiece would live in a Federal Colonial house with a picket fence? But then again, it’s never wise to second-guess Lois Lowry. In the early ’90s, in a radical departure from her previous 20 novels for young readers, Lowry wrote The Giver (1993), the tale of a futuristic society [...]
By Debra Lau Whelan
Self-censorship is rampant and lethal
By Debra Lau Whelan — School Library Journal, 02/01/2009
Illustration by Brian Stauffer
When Barry Lyga finished writing his second young adult novel, he knew there’d be trouble. After all, Boy Toy was about a 12-year-old who has sex with a beautiful teacher twice his age, and Lyga expected it to spark letters to local papers, trigger complaints to the school board, and incite some parents to yank it off library shelves.
But none [...]