We are winding down our Banned Books Week celebration with our final day of postings. Our book display and information will be up for the weekend so please check it out if you haven’t yet.
So what is a banned book? We’ve gotten that question a coulple of times this week. From the American Library Association: “A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection. Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. Although this is a commendable motivation…librarians and governing bodies maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources. Censorship of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.”
We use this week to highlight the challenges and bans that are still happening in this country in an attempt to: highlight the ideas and wonderful books we would be prevented from knowing about without access to them, to illustrate how these books that are often challenged mean so much to people here at GCC, and to prevent banning of these ideas from happening in the future. Has your favorite book or author been banned? Check out this list: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged. More good information about Banned Books here: http://lib.calpoly.edu/books/banned/infographic.php
Above, chair of World Languages and Professor Charlotte Gifford reads The Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano (in Spanish, of course): This book was at one point banned by the governments of Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. The author published the book, a history of politics and economics in Latin America, shortly before a military dictatorship seized power in Uruguay and he was thrown into exile. (from Democracy Now!)
Above, Professor Christine Monahan reads Beloved by Toni Morrison: Challenged at the St. Johns County Schools in St. Augustine, FL (1995). Retained on the Round Rock, TX Independent High School reading list (1996) after a challenge that the book was too violent. Challenged by a member of the Madawaska, ME School Committee (1997) because of the book’s language. The 1987 Pulitzer Prize winning novel has been required reading for the advanced placement English class for six years. Challenged in the Sarasota County, FL schools (1998) because of sexual material. Retained on the Northwest Suburban High School District 214 reading listing in Arlington Heights, IL (2006), along with eight other challenged titles. A board member, elected amid promises to bring her Christian beliefs into all board decision-making, raised the controversy based on excerpts from the books she’d found on the Internet. Challenged in the Coeur d’Alene School District, ID (2007). Some parents say the book, along with five others, should require parental permission for students to read them. Pulled from the senior Advanced Placement (AP) English class at Eastern High School in Louisville, KY (2007) because two parents complained that the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about antebellum slavery depicted the inappropriate topics of bestiality, racism, and sex. The principal ordered teachers to start over with The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne in preparation for upcoming AP exams. (from the American Library Association)
Above, Dean of Humanities Leo Hwang-Carlos reads The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison: Excerpts banned in Butler, PA (1975). Removed from the high school English reading list in St. Francis, WI (1975). Retained in the Yakima, WA schools (1994) after a five-month dispute over what advanced high school students should read in the classroom. Two parents raised concerns about profanity and images of violence and sexuality in the book and requested that it be removed from the reading list. (from the American Library Association)
Read a previously banned book this week and celebrate your freedom to read!