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The Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association
Updated: 1 hour 49 min ago

Highland Park, Texas censoring books based on ALA’s Most Frequently Challenged List

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 4:43pm

highlandparksevenlongwhiteThe Highland Park, TX Independent School District has been in the news recently regarding seven books that were unilaterally suspended last month from the English curriculum by Superintendent Dawson Orr.

Opponents to several titles questioned how books are chosen for school assignments and they have demanded that books be removed until they have been re-approved by new committees.  On September 24, parents in the school district received an email from Superintendent Dawson Orr and Principal Walter Kelly responding to the requests. You can read in the email that books (Nineteen Minutes and Perks of Being a Wallflower) that were on the approved list before have been removed. Seven books were suspended from the current curriculum.  And books that may have “unsuitable” content now require a parent permission form.

Dr. Dawson Orr received a lot of criticism for banning the books. Many parents joined efforts to reverse his action.  There were many concerns about how removing the books would effect the standing of AP classes with the College Board. And parents demanded that their children have the freedom to read books that were chosen by professionally educated teachers. In Dr. Orr’s September 29 email to parents, he openly takes responsibility, explains his reasoning, and apologizes for his misstep. While the superintendent has since reinstated those books to the reading list, there is still much discussion about district policy, book selection, and permission slips.

According to the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, parent permission slips should be sent home for all books that meet the following criteria:

  • Books that currently are being challenged by HPISD parents
  • Books that are on the American Library Association’s Top 10 Challenged Book List by Year – going back 10 years (http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10)
  • Books that have been indicated by our local HPHS literary selection committee as needing a permission slip

This is where the Office for Intellectual Freedom has stepped in. OIF Director Barbara Jones submitted a letter to the school board, superintendent, and principal expressing concern at the use of permission forms and particularly at the use of ALA’s annual Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged and Banned Books List as a means of identifying so-called “objectionable texts.”  In the letter, Jones writes:

[ALA's] Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged or Banned Books List is not and has never been a judgment on the quality or educational suitability of a work or a valid designation that the book is “objectionable.” This is especially so since many challenges to books are determined to be without merit. Indeed, many challenges are motivated not by a challenger’s concern about educational suitability but instead by the challenger’s discriminatory and often unconstitutional beliefs regarding literature that incorporates themes and elements addressing race, religion, homosexuality, or unorthodox views. These biased and uninformed challenges, often disguised as an “unsuited for age group” objection, should never be used as grounds for determining restrictions on public school books and curricula. Employing the ALA’s Top Ten Most Challenged or Banned Books List as a curriculum standard substitutes the unthinking opinion of a crowd for the considered judgment of the professional educators on your
faculty.

Moreover, delegating the Board’s legal authority to determine what books may be freely taught in the classroom to a private association like the ALA raises certain due process issues, especially when the criteria used to determine the ALA Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged and Banned Books list are not narrowly and reasonably drawn definitive standards but the mere circumstance that someone, somewhere, complained about the book for any one of a number of reasons.

Read the rest of the letter from OIF here.

The Highland Park School Board met on Tuesday night and the issue continued to dominate discussion.  Read a report of the meeting here.

Categories: Book News

E-books and Privacy …. Again.

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 2:37pm

A few years ago, after the disclosure that Amazon was collecting and storing user data associated with the loan of library e-books to Kindle users, I wrote an article briefly exploring the “digital dilemma” associated with providing users access to e-books and other resources via third party vendors. At the time I noted that

[t]he current model of digital content delivery for libraries places library users’ privacy at risk. Authorizing the loan of an ebook or the use of a database can communicate unique identifiers or personally identifiable information that reveals a user’s identity. Databases and e-readers create records of users’ intellectual activities that can include search terms, highlighted phrases, and what pages the individuals actually read. Easily aggregated—and then associated—with a particular user, such records can be used against the reader as evidence of intent or belief, especially if the records are stored on vendors’ servers, where they are subject to discovery by law enforcement.

Now the same issue has arisen in regards to Adobe Digital Editions’ collection of reader data and its transmission back to Adobe as unencrypted data sent through unsecured networks.  The Library Information Technology Association’s LITA Blog outlines the technical issues.  ALA President Courtney Young has commented on the issue and outlines ALA’s  planned response.

The ethical issues are clear: it is the responsibility of librarians to establish policies to prevent any threat to privacy posed by new technologies. Libraries need to ensure that contracts and licenses reflect their policies and legal obligations concerning user privacy and confidentiality. Whenever a third party has access to personally identifiable information (PII), the agreements need to address appropriate restrictions on the use, aggregation, dissemination, and sale of that information, particularly information about minors. In circumstances in which there is a risk that PII may be disclosed, the library should warn its users. (See Questions 13 and 22 in the IFC’s  Q & A on Privacy and Confidentiality, and Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights.) In addition, careful thought should be given to the kinds of data that are collected and stored about library users’ reading habits; no personally identifiable data should be collected unless it is essential for the provision of resources and services to the library user, and any data collected should be discarded as soon as it is no longer needed (See the 2006 Resolution on the Retention of Library Usage Records.)

The legal issues are murkier. The majority of state library confidentiality records require libraries to prevent disclosure of library users’ records to third parties in the absence of user consent or a court order or other legal process compelling disclosure. But these laws often do not govern the behavior of third party vendors entrusted with library users’ information. Both Missouri and California have tried to address this by amending their library confidentiality laws to extend the duty to protect library user records to vendors.  (See Missouri §185.815 - §185.817, amended and Cal. Gov. Code §6267.)   Ultimately, however,  the library must be responsible for assuring the privacy and confidentiality of their users’ records.

As libraries move to adopt digital content and new technologies, librarians need to assure that the use of library users’ data for these services does not weaken privacy protections for library users’ data or blur the line between public and confidential records. This will require a firm commitment to the profession’s obligation to protect the confidentiality of library users’ information and the will to advocate for greater legal protections for library users’ data that ensure reader privacy and protect against censorship, whether it is a private, contractual arrangement with the vendor or a public policy solution that includes amending or adopting library confidentiality laws that apply equally to any entity, public or private, that manages, stores, or uses library user data.

Categories: Book News

Persepolis removed, then reinstated in Chatham, IL

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 6:57pm

It was a quiet but happy day when OIF was informed by librarian Susan Klontz that Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis will continue to be read by Glenwood High School seniors in the small Central Illinois town of Chatham.

Klontz contacted OIF after the book, which was assigned for a human rights unit, was recalled from the students following a parent’s complaint to the Ball-Chatham School District superintendent.

Per school policy, a committee was formed to evaluate the text and review the parent’s complaint. NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) provided a stellar rationale for the book. ALA provided additional support in the form of reviews, articles about the value of graphic novels, and suggestions for engaging community support.  Several organizations provided letters of support to those opposed to the ban – see OIF’s letter, below.

On Monday evening Principal Jim Lee presented the committee findings and letters of support to the board of education, which then voted unanimously to retain the selection.  Read the local State Journal-Register newspaper article here.

A huge thank you to NCAC (National Coalition Against Censorship), ABFFE (American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression), AAP (Association of American Publishers), CBLDF (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund), NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English), and PEN for supporting Glenwood High School, their teachers, librarians, and especially their students.

For more information about reporting challenges to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, visit our Challenge Reporting website.

ala.persepolis1 ala.persepolis2

Categories: Book News

IFAction News Roundup, September 21 – September 27, 2014

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 7:36am

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from September 21 – September 27, 2014.

Filtering, Censorship, Whistle blowing, Free Press, and Free Speech Articles  

Why Gay Characters Matter

Challenges to books at Inland schools stir debate

Banned Books By The Numbers (INFOGRAPHICS)

Arizona Could Send You to Prison for Sharing Nude Celebrity Pictures

Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music

 

Access, the Digital Divide, Net Neutrality, and Intellectual Property Protection Articles

‘Piracy’ That Creates Amazing New Music

Connecting All Schools and Libraries – Learning from State Strategies and Data

World Wide Web inventor slams Internet fast lanes: ‘It’s bribery.’

Digital Education: One Giant Leap for Students — and Teachers Too?

Academic Skills on Web Are Tied to Income Level

 

Privacy, Surveillance, Hacking, and Cybersecurity Articles    

Google and Apple Won’t Unlock Your Phone, But a Court Can Make You Do It

We know the password system is broken. So what’s next?

Collaborative Approaches for Medical Device and Healthcare Cybersecurity; Public Workshop; Request for Comments

Lawmakers seek new powers for privacy board

Facebook’s Fine Print Includes Permission to Track

 

Categories: Book News

Midweek Round Up: Banned Books Week Across the Country

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 7:21pm

Cross-posted to bannedbooksweek.org

We are already halfway through Banned Books Week, and the response has been overwhelming! There have been so many events, articles, and conversations that it’s hard to keep up. Once again the creativity of those marking this occasion continues to impress.

Here are just a few standouts:

  • Dav Pilkey, Creator of CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, the number one most banned book in 2013, created this video on banning books.
  • Sherman Alexie, one of the most frequently challenged authors in America, discusses book banning, censorship, and the erotic novel in this video.
  • Jeff Bridges, actor, and banned authors Ana Castillo and Lois Lowry join hundreds for the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out. Check back to www.youtube.com/bannedbooksweek for more videos including one from legendary comic creator, Stan Lee (coming soon).
  • Books, Inc., an independently owned and operated bookseller in California created this promotional video for Banned Books Week.
  • Mooresville Public LIbrary, of Mooresville, Indiana, created another promotional video for Banned Books Week.
  • A “Which Banned Book Are You” quiz was developed by librarians at Columbus State Community College (CSCC) in Ohio to celebrate Banned Books Week. CSCC is one of seven recipients of grants from the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund.
  • Jeff Smith, best-selling author of the graphic album series BONE, wrote this Reading Rainbow blog on behalf of Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center, and Project Censored. Banned Books Week is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress

More information is available at www.bannedbooksweek.org

 

Categories: Book News

Celebrating Banned Books Week and Ana Castillo for the Virtual Read-Out!

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 8:25pm

Happy third day of Banned Books Week! We hope you are enjoying the week by reading your favorite banned/challenged book! If you would like ideas on what to read, please check out our frequently challenged books section for some ideas.  Other ways to get involved:

  1. Find an event in your community at: http://bannedbooksweek.org/events
  2. Follow us on Twitter at @BannedBooksWeek and Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek for the latest news and updates
  3. Add our Twibbon to your profile pic: http://twb.ly/432U2GAF
  4. Tape yourself reading from your favorite banned book during our Virtual Read-Outhttp://www.bannedbooksweek.org/virtualreadoutsubmission
  5. Attend the SAGE/OIF Banned Books Week webinar, which takes place tomorrow, Wednesday, September 24, at noon (EST): http://www.oif.ala.org/oif/?p=5122

Our sponsors have also been busy planning events and rallying their communities. Learn more:

  1. American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression’s Banned Books Week Handbook and press release
  2. American Library Association press release
  3. Association of American Publishers press release
  4. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Banned Books Week Tour
  5. Freedom to Read Foundation Krug-Sponsored Banned Books Week events
  6. National Coalition Against Censorship events

And now, without further ado, check out the video of Ana Castillo, author of “So Far From God,” “Loverboys,” and many more. Both “So Far From God,” and “Loverboys,” are two titles on the list in the banned book controversy with the TUSD in Arizona. For more Virtual Read-Out videos, check out www.youtube.com/bannedbooksweek.

For more information about Banned Books Week, please visit www.ala.org/bannedbooksweek and www.bannedbooksweek.org.

Categories: Book News

Celebrating Banned Books Week with Dav Pilkey, creator of Captain Underpants

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 3:49pm

Happy Banned Books Week! We hope you are celebrating your freedom to read by reading your favorite banned book.

It’s day two of Banned Books Week. Many libraries, bookstores, schools, and communities across the country and around the world are celebrating this week by hosting read outs and various other wonderful events. To find one in your area, go to http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/events.

If you cannot attend an in person event, we hope you will consider joining us for the SAGE/ALA OIF free webinar online: Regional Issues for Banned Books in 2014, on Wednesday, September 24, 9am PT/12pm ET. Register today!

We also hope you consider contributing a video for the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out! Instructions on what to do can be found at http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek/events/virtualreadout/participate. Check out the videos we’ve received thus far on www.youtube.com/bannedbooksweek.

And speaking of the Virtual Read-Out, Dav Pilkey, the creator of Captain Underpants, which is the most frequently challenged book of 2012 and 2013, created a video in celebration of the week:

To learn more about Banned Books Week, check out www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek, and www.bannedbooksweek.org.

Categories: Book News

IFAction News Roundup, September 7 – September 13, 2014

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 11:48am

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from September 7 – September 13, 2014.

Filtering, Censorship, Whistle blowing, Free Press, and Free Speech Articles  

A Joint Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States Relating to Contributions and Expenditures Intended to Affect Elections

Another Problem with Banned Books Talk

A Whistle-Blower Spurs Self-Scrutiny in College Sports [UNC Chapel Hill]

Drag queens in Facebook name row

 

Access, the Digital Divide, Net Neutrality, and Intellectual Property Protection Articles

The State Department’s plan to spark a global SOPA-style uprising around Internet governance

Broadband policy history reflects unusual bipartisanship

Is the library dead? The answer is complicated

Libraries may digitize books without permission, EU top court rules

TV monitoring service is fair use, judge rules

 

Privacy, Surveillance, Hacking, and Cybersecurity Articles    

Legal memos released on Bush-era justification for warrantless wiretapping

Devastating ‘Heartbleed’ flaw was unknown before disclosure, study finds

Spy court renews NSA metadata program

Yahoo ‘threatened’ by US government with $250,000-a-day fine

Five million Gmail addresses and passwords dumped online

Categories: Book News

Affirm the Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week, Sept. 21-27, 2014

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 6:34pm

It may surprise some to find out there are hundreds of reported attempts to ban books every year in the United States. It may be even more astounding for them to hear that since 1990, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has received reports of more than 18,000 attempts to remove materials in schools and libraries for content deemed by some as inappropriate, controversial or even dangerous.

Banned Books Week, Sept. 21 – 27, 2014, reminds Americans about the importance of preventing censorship and ensuring everyone’s freedom to read any book they choose. According to ALA’s OIF, for every banned book reported, there are many more that are not.

This year’s Banned Books Week is spotlighting graphic novels because, despite their literary merit and popularity as a format, they are often subject to censorship. Graphic novels continually show up on the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Top 10 List of Most Frequently Challenged Books. The most current list for 2013 includes two graphic novels: Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants” series at the top spot and Jeff Smith’s series “Bone” at #10.

“Our most basic freedom in a democratic society is our first amendment right of the freedom to read,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “Banned Books Week is an opportunity for all of us – community residents, librarians, authors and educators – to stand together protecting this fundamental right for everyone and for future generations. We can never take this precious right for granted.”

Banned Books Week has been celebrating the freedom to read for 32 years. Libraries, schools and bookstores across the country will commemorate Banned Books Week by hosting special events and exhibits on the power of words and the harms of censorship. On Sept. 24, SAGE and ALA’s OIF will present a free webinar discussing efforts to un-ban books by visiting activists and speakers in London, Charleston, S.C., Houston and California. For the fourth year the public is invited to read from their favorite banned books by participating in the popular Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out on YouTube.

Past participants have included highly acclaimed and/or frequently challenged authors such as Judy Blume, Chris Crutcher, Whoopi Goldberg, Lauren Myracle and many more. This year’s new videos will feature Ana Castillo, Stan Lee and Lois Lowry, among others.

In addition to book challenges, online resources, including legitimate educational websites and academically useful social networking tools, are being overly blocked and filtered in school libraries. To help raise awareness, the American Association of School Libraries (AASL), a division of the ALA, has designated one day during Banned Books Week as Banned Websites Awareness Day, Wednesday, Sept. 24. During Banned Websites Awareness Day, the AASL is asking school librarians and other educators to promote an awareness of how excessive filtering affects student achievement.

Many bookstores, schools and libraries celebrating Banned Books Week will showcase selections from the ALA OIF’s Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2013. The list is released each spring and provides a snapshot of book removal attempts in the U.S. The Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2013 reflects a range of themes and consists of the following titles:

  1. “Captain Underpants” (series), by Dav Pilkey.
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie.|
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. “A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl,” by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green.
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. “Bless Me Ultima,” by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. “Bone” (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center, People For the American Way and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

For more information on Banned Books Week, book challenges and censorship, please visit the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Banned Books website or bannedbooksweek.org.

Categories: Book News

IFAction News Roundup, August 31 – September 6, 2014

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 6:13pm

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from August 31 – September 6, 2014.

 

Filtering, Censorship, Whistle blowing, Free Press, and Free Speech Articles  

Incarcerated For Writing Science Fiction [Dorchester County, MD]

Is it time to end media blackouts?

The Long Tail of the Arab Digital Spring

Texas Religious Leaders Try To Get Public Libraries To Ban Vampire Books For Them

Should Libraries Stock Anti-Gay Books?

 

Access, the Digital Divide, Net Neutrality, and Intellectual Property Protection Articles 

How McDonald’s and Corporate America are Bringing Internet Access to Rural America

With wireless competition heating up, time to thank the FCC

Librarians Are A Luxury Chicago Public Schools Can’t Afford [Audio]

Broadband and the future of learning

Big tech companies plan “Internet Slowdown” to fight for net neutrality

 

Privacy, Surveillance, Hacking, and Cybersecurity Articles    

Teens Are Waging a Privacy War on the Internet — Why Marketers Should Listen

Celebrity hacks: How to protect yourself in the cloud

Mysterious Phony Cell Towers Could Be Intercepting Your Calls

First US appeals court hears argument to shut down NSA database

Appeals Court Will Reconsider Ruling on Cellphone Tracking

 

Categories: Book News

You’re invited to a free webinar: Regional Issues for Banned Books in 2014

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 3:47pm

Cross-posted to SAGE Connection Blog

Wednesday, September 24, 9am PT/12pm ET

BBW image

In 2013, there were 307 reported requests for books to be removed from America’s libraries, potentially putting those volumes out of reach of students, readers, and learners of all types. While every corner of the map faces unique issues related to library censorship, these issues also catalyze passionate freedom-to-read advocates dedicated to getting the books back on library shelves. In this one-hour webinar, we will “travel” from London, to South Carolina, to Texas, to California, to talk with three activists about the problems they face and their efforts to un-ban books as well as Congresswoman Linda Sanchez about why their efforts are so important.

  • London, UK: Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, will start us off by discussing issues faced outside of the U.S. and how Index chooses to respond.
  • Charleston, South Carolina: We will then travel to Charleston — where the graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel has been a flashpoint in a university funding controversy — to hear from Shelia Harrell-Roye, a committee member from Charleston Friends of the Library. With the 2014 Banned Books Week focus on graphic novels, Harrell-Roye will discuss what her group has been doing to support this critically acclaimed book.
  • Houston, Texas: Moving westward, we will travel to Houston to hear from Tony Diaz, author, radio host, and leader of El Librotraficante. Diaz is a champion for banned books and for ethnic studies textbooks in both Arizona and Texas.

This banned books journey will end in California where Congresswoman Linda Sánchez of the CA 38th District, will offer some closing remarks about why the freedom to read is so important for our nation’s future. Afterward, our very own Ed McBride will wrap up the conversation from Thousand Oaks, CA.

register-now-buttonRegistration is free, but spaces are limited.

Planning to attend? Let your social space know about this important event using #FreetoRead14.

Categories: Book News

New books spotlight intellectual freedom challenges and triumphs for kids in time for Banned Books Week

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 4:37pm

The annual Banned Books Week, held Sept. 21−27 this year, celebrates the freedom to read. In addition to purchasing a copy of Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read, by Robert P. Doyle, to help learn more about the state of literary censorship in America, check out two new titles published by ALA Editions that spotlight both the challenges and triumphs of safeguarding intellectual freedom for young people: “Intellectual Freedom for Teens: A Practical Guide for Young Adult & School Librarians” and “Books under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books.”

Year after year a majority of the titles on ALA’s Banned Books list, which compiles titles threatened with censorship, are either YA books or adult books that are frequently read by teens. It’s important for YA librarians to understand the types of challenges occurring in libraries around the nation and to be ready to deal with such challenges when they occur. “Intellectual Freedom for Teens: A Practical Guide for Young Adult & School Librarians,” by Kristin Fletcher-Spear and Kelly Tyler for the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), is tailored specifically for these situations, providing much-needed guidance on this highly charged topic. Among the issues addressed are:

  • how to prepare yourself and your staff for potential challenges by developing a thoughtful selection policy and response plan;
  • resources for help when a challenge occurs;
  • the art of crafting a defense for a challenged book, and pointers for effectively disseminating your response through the press and social media;
  • the latest on intellectual freedom in the digital realm, including an examination of library technology.

Many things have changed since ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) was founded in 1967, but not everything: the most beloved and popular children’s books are still among the most frequent targets of censorship and outright bans. Limiting access to controversial titles such as “Captain Underpants,” “The Dirty Cowboy,” “Blubber” or “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” or leaving them out of a library’s collection altogether is not the answer to challenges. In “Books under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books,” Pat R. Scales gives librarians the information and guidance they need to defend challenged books with an informed response while ensuring access to young book lovers. Spotlighting dozens of “hot button” titles written for young children through teens, this book:

  • gives a profile of each book that covers its plot, characters, published reviews, awards and prizes and author resources;
  • recounts past challenges and how they were faced, providing valuable lessons for handling future situations, plus a list of other books challenged for similar reasons;
  • provides discussion ideas for planning programming around banned books, whether in reading groups, classrooms or other settings;
  • includes an appendix of additional resources for librarians who find themselves enmeshed in a challenge.

Fletcher-Spear is the administrative librarian at the Foothills Branch Library in Glendale, Ariz. She is coauthor of “Library Collections for Teens: Manga and Graphic Novels” and has written for YALSA, VOYA, and Library Media Connection. Tyler is the branch manager for the Van Nuys Branch at the Los Angeles Public Library. Prior to becoming a supervisor, she worked as a youth services librarian and was a mentor and trainer for new teen librarians.

Scales is a retired middle school and high school librarian whose programs have been featured on the “Today Show” and in various professional journals. She received the ALA/Grolier Award in 1997, and has served as chair of the prestigious Newberry, Caldecott, and Wilder Award committees, and is a past president of the Association of Library Service for Children (ALSC). She has been actively involved with ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee for a number of years, is a member of the Freedom to Read Foundation, serves on the Council of Advisers of the National Coalition Against Censorship, and acts as a spokesperson for First Amendment issues as they relate to children and young adults. Author of “Teaching Banned Books: Twelve Guides for Young Readers and Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your Library,” she also writes for School Library Journal, the Random House website, and Book Links magazine.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact us at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5418 or editionsmarketing@ala.org.

Categories: Book News

2014 edition of “Banned Books: Challenging our Freedom to Read” is now available at the ALA Store Online!

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 2:30pm
2014 Edition

2014 Edition

Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read, by Robert P. Doyle, is an essential reference for all who read, write, and work with books.  This updated and expanded 2014 edition, now available at the ALA Store Online, features a new, streamlined design that will make this an essential reference you’ll return to time and again.

Librarians, educators, students, and parents along with publishers, booksellers, writers, and readers interested in the current state of literary censorship in America–especially in our libraries and schools–will find this volume indispensable. This new edition of Banned Books by noted First Amendment advocate Robert P. Doyle details incidents of book bannings from 387 BC to 2014.

Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read provides a framework for understanding censorship and the protections guaranteed to us through the First Amendment. Interpretations of the uniquely American notion of freedom of expression–and our freedom to read what we choose–are supplemented by straightforward, easily accessible information that will inspire further exploration.

Contents include:

Insight–The Challenge of Censorship

Interpretation–The First Amendment, the Freedom of Expression, and the Freedom to Read

Information–First Amendment Timeline, Court Cases,. Glossary, Bibliography, Quotations, and Action Guide

Incidents–Top Ten Challenged Books of 2013 and Banned or Challenged Books–almost 2,000 titles listed alphabetically by author plus Title, Topical, and Geographic Indices.

Read a sample of the book!

Also available at the ALA Store is this year’s Banned Books Week campaign, which features the tagline “Have You Seen Us?”
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Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books from across the United States. Use these products to help emphasize the importance of the First Amendment and the power of uncensored literature.

For more information on how you can celebrate your freedom to read, check out ala.org/bbooks and bannedbooksweek.org.

 

Categories: Book News

IFAction News Roundup, July 27 – August 2, 2014

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 8:27am

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from July 27 – August 2, 2014.

Filtering, Censorship, Whistle blowing, Free Press, and Free Speech Articles  

Manassas [VA] case rekindles debate over penalties for ‘sexting’

Bucks County [PA] teacher whose blog made headlines is fired

Former CIA/NSA Boss Michael Hayden Admits Ed Snowden Was A Whistleblower

After CIA gets secret whistleblower email, Congress worries about more spying

3 Killed in a Facebook Blasphemy Rampage in Pakistan

 

Access, the Digital Divide, Net Neutrality, and Intellectual Property Protection Articles

FCC calls Verizon’s new data throttling plan a ‘disturbing’ development

Why one New Jersey school district killed its student laptop program

How the history of electricity explains municipal broadband

Duke Professors Looking To Make Legal Texts Affordable; Kicking Off With Intellectual Property Law

California’s digital divide still gaping

 

Privacy, Surveillance, Hacking, and Cybersecurity Articles    

BitTorrent unveils NSA-proof online calling and messaging software

Think the Supreme Court protected your cellphone from warrantless searches? Think again.

Senators unveil bill to protect student privacy

Leahy Introduces Historic Bill To Ban NSA’s Dragnet Collection Of Americans’ Electronic Communications

Personal Privacy Is Only One of the Costs of NSA Surveillance

Categories: Book News

IFAction News Roundup, July 13 – July 19, 2014

Sat, 07/26/2014 - 11:32am

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from July 13 – July 19, 2014.

 

Filtering, Censorship, Whistle blowing, Free Press, and Free Speech Articles  

E-mails show NSA monitored destruction of Snowden data at The Guardian

Appeals Court Rejects D.C. Teacher’s Speech-Retaliation Suit

Swedish court upholds arrest warrant for Julian Assange

After public outcry, Singapore backpedals on destruction of 2 gay-themed book titles

VA uses patient privacy to go after whistleblowers, critics say

 

Access, the Digital Divide, Net Neutrality, and Intellectual Property Protection Articles 

Keeping Track of the Open Internet Comments Submitted to the FCC

FCC swamped with last-minute comments on net neutrality

Democrats push to make the Internet a utility

Net neutrality, a Trojan horse for increased government control of the Internet 

Close The Libraries And Buy Everyone An Amazon Kindle Unlimited Subscription

 

Privacy, Surveillance, Hacking, and Cybersecurity Articles    

NSA: Releasing Snowden Emails Would Violate His Privacy

$20M Facebook Ad Deal Violates Privacy Laws, Parents Say

UN Human Rights Report Confirms Government Surveillance Violates Privacy Rights

ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation Join Idaho Mom’s Legal Challenge to NSA Surveillance

NSA Responds To Snowden Claim That Intercepted Nude Pics ‘Routinely’ Passed Around By Employees

 

Categories: Book News

IFAction News Roundup, July 6 – July 12, 2014

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 5:11pm

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from July 6 – July 12, 2014.

 

Filtering, Censorship, Whistle blowing, Free Press, and Free Speech Articles  

Board removes book [The Miseducation of Cameron Post] from summer reading list [Lewes, DE]

Woman Loses Her Job of 24 Years For Giving Very Common Pleasantry to Customers [KY]

Franken: Net neutrality is ‘First Amendment issue of our time’ 

Google tells music website to censor album covers

Is there a second NSA leaker after Snowden? 

 

Access, the Digital Divide, Net Neutrality, and Intellectual Property Protection Articles 

Google’s Growing Silence on Saving Open Internet Leaves Fight to Startups

Dear Secretary Duncan: Net Neutrality is an Education Issue

‘A Threat to Internet Freedom’

Net Neutrality Survey Finds Fast Lane Support

What Do Kansas and Nebraska Have Against Small Libraries?

 

Privacy, Surveillance, Hacking, and Cybersecurity Articles    

Crypto weakness in smart LED lightbulbs exposes Wi-Fi passwords

LAPD Exposes Login To Data Harvesting Software During Interview With CNN

Why Facebook is beating the FBI at facial recognition

Latest Snowden leak: NSA, FBI targeted prominent US Muslims 

Richard Clarke on the Future of Privacy: Only the Rich Will Have It

Categories: Book News

Zoia Horn, library icon, dies at 96

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 3:07pm

Zoia Horn, who was chair of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee in the mid-70s and who spent 20 days in jail rather than testify in a trial involving anti-Vietnam War activists, died Saturday at the age of 96. Horn’s autobiography, Zoia!, is available online via Archive.org, and includes a copious accounting of her activism.  The California Library Association’s annual intellectual freedom award is named in her honor.

“She lived what she believed,” said Barbara Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom.  “She didn’t just talk about intellectual freedom and the freedom to read. She was on the front lines her whole career. She was an idol to many, many librarians.”

Library Juice has a short obituary.  And here is a great 2002 profile of her in the San Francisco Chronicle, written in the wake of the passage Patriot Act.  It’s notable that even in her last days, she asked her daughter, Catherine Marrion, to contact OIF in order to bring attention to her opposition to the 1977 ALA film The Speaker.

Marrion has indicated that there will be a memorial service in Oakland next month. We will pass along details when they become available.

Categories: Book News

OIF Director Barbara Jones Asks Cape Henlopen School Board to restore book to summer reading list

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 3:09pm

Today Barbara Jones,  director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, sent a letter to the Cape Henlopen Board of Education in Delaware protesting their decision to remove emily m. danforth’s critically acclaimed young adult novel The Miseducation of Cameron Post from its ninth grade summer reading list. The novel, about a young lesbian’s coming of age in 1990′s Montana, was on a list developed by librarians across the state as recommended for incoming high school honors and college prep students.  The letter notes that the school board apparently did not follow its own reconsideration policy in removing the book from its list.

More details about the board’s decision to remove The Miseducation of Cameron Post are available from the local newspaper, the Cape Gazette: Board removes book from summer reading list, and from the Diversity in YA blog.

See also author danforth’s response to the Board’s decision.

Update: The Delaware Library Association also has written a letter to the Cape Henlopen Board of Education, asking them to reconsider the decision to remove The Miseducation of Cameron Post from the summer reading list.

Categories: Book News

IFAction News Roundup, June 29 – July 5, 2014

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 10:44pm

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from June 29 – July 5, 2014.

 

Filtering, Censorship, Whistle blowing, Free Press, and Free Speech Articles  

Ads prompt libraries to put newspaper out of sight [Detroit]

On the Next Docket: How the First Amendment Applies to Social Media

Feds Ignore First Amendment, Supreme Court Precedent In Seizing Domain Of Social Network For Sex Workers

YouTube reportedly in talks with indie labels to avoid blocking videos

 

Access, the Digital Divide, Net Neutrality, and Intellectual Property Protection Articles 

ALA encourages next step in E-rate improvements

No-IP regains control of some domains wrested by Microsoft

Edtech Startups Protest FCC Proposal for ‘Two-Tiered Internet’

 

Privacy, Surveillance, Hacking, and Cybersecurity Articles    

Butler warns students, staff, alums of data breach [Indianapolis]

Facebook responds to criticism of its experiment on users

New Snowden docs: NSA spies on pretty much everyone abroad

Why a government watchdog says your phone calls are private, but your e-mails are not

Why cyber-insurance will be the next big thing

Categories: Book News

IFAction News Roundup, June 22 – 28, 2014

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 11:22pm

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from June 22 – June 28, 2014.

 

Filtering, Censorship, Whistle blowing, Free Press, and Free Speech Articles  

Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Clinic ‘Buffer Zone’ Law

Carnegie medal under fire after ‘vile and dangerous’ Bunker Diary wins

Celebrate the Freedom to Read With CBLDF’s New Banned Books Week Handbook!

North Korea threatens war on US over Kim Jong-un movie

Filtered-down access: an uncensored look at technology and the LGBT community

 

Access, the Digital Divide, Net Neutrality, and Intellectual Property Protection Articles 

Closing the Connectivity Gap

Gay Dem: Internet can be ‘salvation’

Mayors Strongly Back Network Neutrality

New York and Chicago Libraries Loan Hot Spots like Books

Aereo Defeat Sets Up Bigger, Broader Fight for TV

 

Privacy, Surveillance, Hacking, and Cybersecurity Articles    

Supreme Court Says Phones Can’t Be Searched Without a Warrant

Why the Supreme Court May Finally Protect Your Privacy in the Cloud

U.S. NSA granted extension to collect bulk phone data

Facial recognition proposal lacks privacy protections, advocate says

When a Health Plan Knows How You Shop

Categories: Book News
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