A Kind Reader sent in this article about widespread censorship among public libraries in the US. Not only are the librarians not apologetic for this widespread censorship, according to the article they’re “enraged” that anyone would expect them not to be evil censors. The nerve of some librarians.
Okay, that’s not quite the gist of the article, which is about how a new book by J.J. Abrams “enrages librarians” so much they’re either not buying it or returning it after they do buy it.
There aren’t any examples of librarians actually being enraged, but when a headline in a hard news source like the Hollywood Reporter says something, it’s probably true.
The problem seems to be that the book, such as it is, contains a lot of inserts and loose material, apparently on just about every page.
According to the article, the “Hollywood-style marketing campaign…left [the librarians] clueless about the contents of the relatively pricey book.”
That’s kind of a strange claim, since according to Amazon the list price of the book is only $35, and it’s available more cheaply than that for consumers and most likely for libraries as well. That’s not out of line for a new hardback.
There’s even a Kindle version, although how that would deal with all the inserts isn’t clear.
The librarians cancelling it seem to think that all the inserts will likely get lost. They’re probably right.
However, is that any excuse for such blatant censorship? Why isn’t the ALA coming out with a public statement about all the book challenges librarians are presenting against this book?
And with all this censorship, how in the world are people going to be able to read this instant classic if they can’t get it at the library? I ask you that!
Shameful, just shameful.
And now for some “censorship” that really matters, and that puts all of our book challenges into some perspective.
If you like to protest book bans, and what librarian doesn’t, check this one out: “An organization representing 40,000 private schools in Pakistan says it has decided to ban I Am Malala, a memoir written by Malala Yousafzai, the teenager shot by the Taliban for promoting the education of girls.”
She’s supposedly a “tool for the West,” or something like that. I guess at least in the West the Taliban is less likely to shoot her in the face for trying to get an education. A Kind Reader sent in that article, but in another one I read the Taliban wants to shoot her again. Those guys are persistent, you have to give them that.
And there were some more sad excuses, like she didn’t put PUH in front of Muhammad’s name and “spoke favorably” of Salman Rushdie. We can’t have that!
Because of all these terrible problems with the book, it might leave students “in a confused state of mind.” That does tend to happen when people encounter viewpoints different than their own, and we certainly wouldn’t want that to happen in school. At least not in Pakistan, I guess. In America we usually wait until adulthood to completely wall ourselves off from other points of view.
The ALA OIF goes apoplectic if some tiny school in the middle of nowhere bans a book, which goes to show that we don’t have a lot to worry about. When 40,000 schools ban a book, we can talk.
Although I’m still waiting for the ALA to make a comment about how all these libraries are banning J.J. Abrams’ book. I really wanted to read that thing, and if libraries censor it I’ll never be able to.
A strongly worded press release from the ALA that everyone ignores as usual should do the trick.