Friday, October 2, 2009

Challenged!

Plenty of brouhaha this year about Banned Books Week. There's a Wall Street Journal article, claiming challenged banned and that librarians make too big a fuss over parents wanting to supervise what their children read, among other things.

In the meantime, bannings and challenges continue. Ellen Hopkins was recently asked not to speak at a school in Oklahoma, as her books were pulled for reconsideration. Laurie Halse Anderson is trying to rally support for her book "Twisted" which was pulled from a school in Kentucky.

Earlier this year, I dealt with a challenge at my own library, when an upset parent demanded that we remove "And Tango Makes Three" from our shelves. I was very grateful to have the support of my immediate supervisors during that time. Fortunately, I was able to use my not inconsiderable customer service skills to calmly hear the patron out and ultimately, she decided to drop her complaint. "And Tango Makes Three" remains one of the top challenged books since it was published in 2005, so much so, that the American Library Association recently hosted a round table program focused on it. I look at ALA's statistics on banned books in 2008, and I know that the book challenges and censorship that I've personally dealt with in the past few years weren't submitted in any official count. As high as those numbers look, they still don't represent the whole picture.

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