Sunday, October 17, 2021


The American Library Association, long a liberal group, has for years published annual anti-censorship statements.  I have always found these slanted, because they focus on works that have been challenged, not those that have been actually censored.  Any knucklehead can challenge a book and it might be unrepresentative of what is happening in a community.  For librarians this can be a real problem, as unreasonable people may be descending on your school or public library complaining.  But it might not tell us much abut Muncie or Manchester, really.

I looked at this year's graphic, which identifies where the challenges come from and what institutions receive them.  The numbers are enormously weighted toward parents complaining about works their children are exposed to.

I regard this as quite different from true censorship.  Complaining parents are sometimes not asking that a work be available to no one, just not to their fourth-grader.  They are sometimes fine with controversial material being available at the highschool that they think inappropriate at the elementary level.  Each of those can be argued on an individual level, but it is generally clear that the ALA has cast its lot with making sure that no fourth-grader who might think she is gay be deprived of a library book that is reassuring, even if it means exposing all the other kids, some of whom were content to be oblivious to all matters sexual for another five years. Tough noogies for you.  Individual libraries and librarians are often more measured, making material available only on request, moving it one school farther up, etc.  Just know that if you don't like this, you will be regarded by the ALA as an enemy.

Therefore, when one looks at the lists of what type of book is being "censored," one would think that there is no problem other than parents upset at LGBTQ info and sex in general.  It's  their organisation, they can take what stance they want and aren't answerable to me. It's just worth pointing out that the PR campaigns are biased.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Remember, it's not censorship when _they_ do it. Ever tried to get a conservative book from the public library?