Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Does Your Library Censor Books?

An eye-opening article today in the New York Times on how libraries deal with "offensive" materials.
Michael Ravnitzky, a lawyer who blogs about intellectual freedom, said that when he worked at the library in college, he learned firsthand how some librarians coped with problematic books: they stashed them in a cage in the back. When anyone would ask about them, he said, his colleagues would say, “Oh, these are books that might be damaged or stolen.”

Public school libraries also face these quandaries. The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas, for example, makes annual inquiries, and the group found 102 formal challenges in 43 school districts during the 2007-8 school year. Twenty-seven books were banned, including Kay Thompson’s “Eloise in Paris,’’ whose heroine visits a museum with nude artwork.

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