October 24, 2016

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Banned Books Are Often Diverse Books. Check the Stats.


Twenty-nine books on ALA’s top 10 challenged books lists from 2001–2015 have diverse content.

SLJ Controversial Books Survey Responses: Weighing Subject Matter


SLJ’s 2016 Controversial Books Survey, addressing self-censorship, asked school librarians: “When making purchasing decisions, do find yourself weighing the effect of controversial subject matter more often now than you did one or two years ago?” Here’s what respondents who answered “yes” had to say.

SLJ Controversial Books Survey: Comments About Book Challenges


In SLJ’s 2016 Controversial Books Survey, we asked school librarians to tell us about a book challenge they had personally experienced or to communicate other information about this topic.
Here’s what they said.

D.I.Y. Censorship: An Infographic


Download this visual representation of key findings in SLJ’s 2016 Controversial Books Survey of school librarians, exploring self-censorship.

SLJ Controversial Books Survey: Word Clouds


School librarians mentioned these terms the most in their their answers to two questions in SLJ’s 2016 survey, which explores self-censorship.

Unnatural Selection: More Librarians Are Self-Censoring


Restricting books with controversial content is on the rise in school libraries, according to SLJ’s 2016 Controversial Books Survey, which explores self-censorship.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

A Censorship Simulator and Lesson | “Westport Independent”


For educators looking for a multimedia approach to teaching about censorship as Banned Books Week nears, Westport Independent may be just the platform.

When a Volunteer Oversteps | Scales on Censorship


Training volunteer parents to hold opinions; requests to create a booklist about overweight adolescents and to remove books about suicide.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

“Looking for Alaska” Stays in Curriculum in Lebanon, KY

THUMB Display

The controversial teen novel by John Green came under heavy fire in one high school—but in a victory for “freedom to read,” the merits of its use prevailed.

Experts Focus on Censorship at Bank Street Conference


At “Who Are You To Say?”, an event held in New York City on April 16, authors and kid lit experts weighed in on where to draw the line between being aware and censoring.

Virginia Bill Requires Educators to Offer Alternative Book Option Upon Request


The protests of one mom, who didn’t want her son reading Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” led to legislation that would require an “opt-out” option for assigned literature.

Assessing Controversial Books | Scales on Censorship


Should libraries that already purchased books based on their starred reviews keep or withdraw them because of subsequent controversies?

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

You Don’t Show the Sweet Without the Bitter | Up for Debate


I understand small moments of joy on a page, like a slave receiving a Christmas present, because I can place those stories into a broad landscape and see them as the exception, not the norm. You have to earn hopeful stories about horrifying events, and you can only see what hope means if the horrors lurking nearby are visible

We Will Continue to Raise Our Voices: Survival, Slavery, Censorship | Up for Debate


This ‘shocking and unprecedented case of self-censorship’ was, in fact, an editorial decision. The publishing industry makes thousands of them every day. They happen in response to many factors, including outside pressure, personal bias, and money. This decision happened after many voices were raised opposing the book, led by Black Lives Matter activist Leslie Mac.

“When I Was The Greatest” Book Cover Provokes Concern From Brooklyn Parents


Despite complaints from a contingent of parents about a photo of a gun on the cover, the New York City Department of Education has no plans to remove Jason Reynolds’s YA novel from lists of suggested reading material for seventh and eighth graders.

SLJ Columnist Pat Scales Wins ALSC Distinguished Service Award


Pat Scales, School Library Journal’s Scales on Censorship columnist, has been named this year’s Distinguished Service Award recipient by the Association for Library Service to Children.

The Latest Tale of Captain Underpants Kept Out of School Book Fair


The 12th “Captain Underpants” novel will only be available to school kids in Monroe, MI, if they specifically order it. It is not in the school library or at book fairs.

Open Door Policy for All Students | Scales on Censorship


The importance of providing student access to the library.

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

It’s About Choice: Tactics for Fostering Intellectual Freedom | Scales on Censorship


Censorship expert Pat Scales tackles the trouble with trigger warnings, the finesse of Banned Books Week planning, and the problem with narrowing options for reading.

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

“King & King”—and Teacher Who Read It—Under Fire in North Carolina


While King & King will be allowed in the school, it is not currently in the media center, says Omar Currie, a third-grade teacher in Efland, NC, who read the picture book to his class. Any book a teacher wishes to read to students or use in the classroom that is not in the school’s media center will need to be submitted to parents in advance, starting in the 2015-2016 school year, adds Curie, who says a personal grievance has been filed against him with the district.