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September 19, 2014

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Should ‘Girl’ Books Be Labeled? | Scales on Censorship

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A public librarian asks if merging her teen and adult collection will reduce the challenges to the YA literature collection; a school librarian writes about the superintendent’s restriction on teaching some of the classics listed on the Facts on Fiction website. SLJ censorship columnist, Pat Scales, provides answers to these matters and more.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Texas Pastor Attempts to Ban “Twilight” from Austin Memorial Library

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With Banned Books Week on the horizon, read about this recent challenge about a Texas pastor who attempted to have 75 paranormal YA titles, including “Twilight,” removed from the Austin Memorial Library on the basis that they are inappropriate for young people.

What You Should Know About Banned Websites Awareness Day, September 24

What You Should Know About Banned Websites Awareness Day, September 24

The fourth annual Banned Websites Awareness Day makes excessive filtering an intellectual freedom issue in K–12 learning.

“Gay Penguin” Book Allowed to Remain in Singapore Libraries

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It’s been two zigzag weeks for the National Library Board in Singapore that has been the focus of international media furor since it announced two weeks ago that all copies of the children’s books containing gay themes were not only been banned from the state’s collections, but would be pulped. The international community pushed back, and in a surprising reversal, the National Library Board changed its mind.

University of Illinois and Freedom to Read Foundation Offer Intellectual Freedom Course

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The Freedom to Read Foundation and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are joining forces to offer an online graduate-level course “Intellectual Freedom and Censorship” for library and information science students around the country held August 26–October 10.

ALA Report Confirms Negative Impact of Filtering on Student Learning

ALA Report Confirms Negative Impact of Filtering on Student Learning

“Fencing out Knowledge: Impacts of the Children’s Internet Protection Act 10 Years Later” concludes that institutions using filtering software in order to receive certain federal funds routinely block more content than required, depriving students of access to information and collaborative tools.

Keeping Kids’ Library Records Private| Scales on Censorship

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SLJ columnist Pat Scales addresses the privacy of kids’ library records; censoring incarcerated teen reading; and the difference between “restricting” and “removing.”

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Representing the Muslim American Experience

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In a world where misinformation about Muslim Americans takes place daily, we have a chance to build understanding among children through our library collections.

Request to Ban ‘Two Boys Kissing’ from Virginia High School Library Denied

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On April 23, Virginia’s Fauquier County Public Schools held a review and public hearing to consider a parent’s appeal to remove David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing—an LGBTQ-themed book—from the school district’s libraries. The board voted a unanimous decision to keep the title in the school district’s libraries.

Idaho’s Meridian School District Votes to Keep Hold on ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’

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On April 2, Idaho’s Meridian County School Board voted 2-1 to continue the hold on Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian keeping the title off the school curriculum’s supplemental book list—and many Meridian educators are not happy about it. Alexie’s book, published by Little Brown, is the #2 most banned book in the country, according to 2012 figures from the American Library Association.

SLJ Columnist Pat Scales Addresses Censorship Concerns in Libraries

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Librarian and SLJ columnist Pat Scales responds to a range of censorship issues from librarians around the country.

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

8,000 Schools to Join ‘Day of Silence’ on April 11, Protesting LGBTQ Student Harassment

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Hundreds of thousands of students will take a vow of silence on Friday, April 11, to raise awareness of the silencing impact of bullying, name calling, and harassment of LGBTQ youth in schools.

North Carolina School Board Decides to Keep The House of Spirits

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In a 3-2 vote, North Carolina’s Watauga County School Board has settled on keeping The House of the Spirits in its sophomore honors English curriculum.

Poetry Book by Teens Removed from Arizona School

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“Things I Have to Tell You,” a compilation of more than 30 poems by teens from ages 15 to 18, was pulled from Arizona’s Stapley Junior High School due to references to drugs and boys’ bodies, among other issues.

Challenge-Ready: Using Thoughtful Leadership to Promote the Freedom to Read | Scales on Censorship

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Chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee Pat Scales offers advice and resources to educators looking to promote the freedom to read in their classrooms and libraries.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

NYPL Censorship Salon Focuses on Self-Censorship, Book Rating Trend

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Participants in a New York Public Library Children’s Literature Salon discussed pressing censorship issues, from self-censorship by authors and librarians to schools that rate titles for appropriateness, and the chilling impact a challenge can have on a book.

LOC Literacy Awards; New Follett Chairman; Harry and Hermione? | News Bites

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The Library of Congress is accepting applications for its Literacy Awards. Todd Litzsinger is Follet’s new chairman of the board. Rowling casts doubt on Ron-Hermione pairing. Alexie novel challenged again. Rowell to write graphic novels.

Reading, PA, Students Protest Classroom Library Probe

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Middle school students in Reading, PA, are protesting what they see as unjust scrutiny of their classroom libraries—using their own voices even as teachers express reservations about speaking out.

Leading The Technology Charge | Feedback

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Feedback this month ranges from the defense of librarians who embrace technology to support for Isabel Allende’s novel The House of the Spirits, which is still being challenged by parents in a North Carolina school district.

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

North Carolina School Board Retains ‘The Color Purple’

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North Carolina’s Brunswick County School District has voted to retain Alice Walker’s award-winning epistolary novel The Color Purple in its school libraries and classrooms, following a series of unofficial challenges to the book that began in October.