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May 22, 2015

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2015 Banned Books Week to Focus on YA Lit

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This year’s Banned Books Week (BBW, September 27 to October 3) will celebrate books written for the teen audience, the BBW National Committee announced on April 22.

Library Police: Who Determines What Is “Appropriate”? | Scales on Censorship

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Pat Scales responds to a kindergarten educator who questions the age-appropriateness of This One Summer as a Caldecott Honor Book and an English teacher who grapples with what to do about her student teacher from a Christian university who has asked to opt out of working with To Kill a Mockingbird.

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Critics Sound off on “Clean Reader” App | Storify

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UPDATE: As of March 27, all books have been removed from the Clean Reader catalog, states its Facebook page. A survey of some responses to “Clean Reader.” The application, for IOS and Android, removes profanity, references to anatomical features, and language deemed offensive from titles available in an online bookstore.

“Clean Reader” App Strips Ebooks of Profanity

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The filter, represented by a small electronic broom, blocks offensive words and can be set to “clean,” “cleaner,” or “squeaky clean.”

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom Wants to Know About Your State’s Challenged Books

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The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom wants to know about your state’s 2014 book challenges. The deadline for reporting is Friday, February 27—so find out how to do so here.

Cartoonists Talk About “Charlie Hebdo”

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In wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, players in the cartoon/graphic artist world gathered at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York City to discuss issues, including censorship, satire, and the power of the visual medium.

Kansas May Criminalize Educators for Distributing “Harmful Material”

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A proposed bill in Kansas removes the protection of educators against prosecution for sharing so-called “harmful material” in schools. Senate Bill 56 has sparked strong partisanship, and the American Library Association is closely monitoring its progress.

Value Judgment | Scales On Censorship

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This month, Pat Scales fires back on a principal who nixes the study of a novel with a Buddhist mother-character in a world religions program, a teacher who wants to label library books by reading-level, and a company contracted for book fairs that labels a graphic novel featuring a kiss between two boys as “Mature Content.”

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Two Books Challenged Again in Highland Park Schools in Texas

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Renewed book challenges to The Working Poor: Invisible in America and The Art of Racing in the Rain stir up sides as the Highland Park (TX) Independent School District’s board gears up to vote on revisions to the district’s book policy.

Appoquinimink School District Board Battles Over Permission Slips for YA Reading

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The Appoquinimink (DE) School District has been at the center of a controversy over whether to implement parental permission slips for required and recreational reading.

‘Highland Park Kids Read’ Takes on Censorship Battle in TX School District

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Nonprofit group Highland Park Kids Read is set to protest the pulling of “objectionable” books from the district’s curricula at a December 9 board meeting of the Highland Park Independent School District.

Tennessee School District’s Tech Policy Blocks Students’ Constitutional Rights, ACLU Says

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A Tennessee parent and the ACLU claim that a school district’s tech policy, which students much sign to participate in activities on campus computers, violates free speech and compromises student privacy.

CO Students Protest Proposed Changes to ‘Censor’ AP History

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Students from Jeffco Public Schools in Colorado rallied against the school board’s review committee, on October 11, as the board moves forward to review, and possibly remove, material from the AP U.S. History curriculum.

An Informal Study: Do Book Challenges Suppress Diversity? | Banned Books Week

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In an informal study of the top banned books since 2000, young adult author and Diversity in YA cofounder Malinda Lo reveals that 52 percent of challenged titles have diverse content or are written by a diverse author.

Comics Censorship, from ‘Gay’ Batman to Sendak’s Mickey | Banned Books Week

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Since the 1940s, critics have claimed that comic books and graphic novels corrupt youth by breeding immorality, sexual deviance, and violence. There’s still opposition.

10 Frequently Challenged Graphic Novels | Banned Books Week

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To kick off Banned Books Week 2014—celebrating graphic novels—SLJ presents a list of 10 frequently challenged titles in this format.

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.