The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.
Do you know any “Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity?”
If so, please nominate them for the new Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, handed out by the American Library Association:
Th[is] award, which ALA intends to present at its Annual Conference, recognizes a librarian who “has faced adversity with integrity and dignity intact.” It will be given annually to a deserving librarian…
There were 464 challenges, as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, in 2012.
This book was #2 on the list:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
Just so you know.
Off the list this year are such classics as Alice Walker‘s “Color Purple”; “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee; “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger; and Robert Cormier‘s “The Chocolate War.” Replacing them are books reflecting a range of themes and ideas that include “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley; “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie; ”The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins; and Stephenie Meyer‘s “Twilight.”
“While we firmly support the right of every reader to choose or reject a book for themselves or their families, those objecting to a particular book should not be given the power to restrict other readers’ right to access and read that book,” said Barbara Jones, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “As members of a pluralistic and complex society, we must have free access to a diverse range of viewpoints on the human condition in order to foster critical thinking and understanding. We must protect one of the most precious of our fundamental rights – the freedom to read.”