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After Banned Books Week – The Next Step

2010 October 5

Banned Books Week officially drew to a close for the last week of September. Did it get a reaction?

Did your patrons ask your staff questions about what a banned book is, or offer their opinions on the books in your display of frequently challenged titles? Last week, books were jailed, wrapped in brown paper, and draped with cautionary yellow tape to raise the question of their level of danger to a potential reader. The Hit List for Children 2 and The Hit List for Young Adults 2 are two books about some of the most popularly challenged books for younger readers, listing specific instances about the challenges that each title has provoked, and information about the book that includes sources of recommendation, awards received, and background information about the author to help librarians explain the value of the book to a collection that serves these readers.

Most people can find books on these lists that they have read and consider to be of some value or enjoyment. Some people find books in the displays that do concern them and seem to present a danger that they would like to see addressed. Teaching Banned Books provides strategies for teaching 10 books chosen from the 100 Most Frequently Banned Books of 1990-1999 to kids at the middle school level. Scales offers additional materials, discussion questions, activities, and resources of fiction and non-fiction books to discuss the issues that make these books controversial. She used these with her students as well as her students’ parents through a monthly parent literature class, which bridged the gap between parents’ concern for their children and talking with them about the issues presented in the books.

Did your staff have questions about what your procedure should be for handling challenges, or what other policies your library has to uphold regarding issues of intellectual freedom (such as use of meeting rooms or exhibit spaces by different groups in your community, or access of digital services like the internet)? Protecting the Right to Read covers the professional responsibilities of school and public libraries, and how they have been applied in a sampling of libraries. Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your Academic Library and Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your School Library present these issues with real life “scenarios from the front lines” to demonstrate how to successfully handle the challenges your library is most likely to encounter.

Defending Access with Confidence: A Practical Workshop on Intellectual Freedom provides materials for training staff to have a consistent response, delivering excellent customer care while responding to concerns and challenges related to intellectual freedom. The Intellectual Freedom Manual (Eighth edition, 2010, updated from the Seventh edition of 2006)  is a practical reference guide to the law, interpretation, and history of intellectual freedom topics, and includes a section on the USA Patriot Act.

Did you host or attend events, see displays or hear speakers? Speaking Out: Voices in Celebration of Intellectual Freedom is a collection of short essays contributed by editors, publishers, writers, librarians and many others (including House Rep. Barney Frank) using their favorite quote to explain why intellectual freedom is important to them and what they have done in their work to promote it.

All of these books are available in the Library Science Collection to be checked out by any Texan. You can register and request items by using the LSC Request Form. Check out LSC catalog for the full catalog (new additions and reviews at LSC New and Recent Titles Added), or e-mail LSC with your questions.

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