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1. The annual banned books week roundup for 2013

salinger's 60 years later, banned in the US

For some reason last year I didn’t do my annual roundup of Banned Books Week websites. Here is a link to the source of the image above which is from the New Yorker’s article about the JD Salinger-evocative book 60 Years Later, Coming Through the Rye which is illegal to sell in the US. You can find more news articles about that situation at the author’s small Wikipedia page. You can look at past posts on this topic by checking out the bannedbooksweek tag here or here is a list of the annual posts: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. I skipped 2005 and 2012.

As usual, you get a neat real-time look at what’s going on by following the Twitter hashtag. Do NOT look at the bbw twitter hashtag as I mistakenly did last night. As usual there are two “main” sites the ALA site at ala.org/bbooks and the bannedbooksweek.org site which is really nice looking this year. The BannedBooksWeek Twitter account is still moribund which is a damned shame. The Virtual Read Out doesn’t seem to have any new videos this year… yet?

Please remember if you are a librarian who has a book that is challenged, report it to the ALA so they can keep track of it.

Here is the list of organizations who are co-sponsors. Let’s look at their websites.

  • PEN American Center – has this post outlining what they’re up to this week and they appear to be extended their activities for a full month and this blog post (some reflections by Nick Burd, an author whose book had been challenged) is a well-written little capsule piece.
  • The language of the censor is the language of the tyrant, the absolutist, the one with no vision. It is the antithesis of art because it assumes that there is only one perspective, one reality, and that anything that fails to rhyme with it is a sin against nature. But the real sin against nature is to suffocate personal truths and experiences with wobbly doctrine and to disguise it as morally just. Art— particularly literature—exists to show us there are as many worlds as there are people. Each of these worlds come with its own laws. These laws vary from person to person, but if there is one that they have in common it is to share your truth. We owe it to our humanity and our short time among other humans to respect the truths that are shared with us. – Nick Burd

    Websites are working and the word is getting out. I was pleased with this year’s collections of content. What I’m concerned about, as per usual, are challenges and censorship that don’t even reach the physical items on the library shelves. What about this Salinger book? Worldcat shows 40 copies of it, a handful of which are in the US, and the reviews of it haven’t been so great anyhow. But the idea that the book wasn’t obtained and removed, it was never obtained in the first place (as we see with so much born-digital content that we can’t even get in lendable format) opens a door to all new ways that libraries can not get books. The old challenges (dirty cowboy? really? do not google that) remain and new ones appear.

    3 Comments on The annual banned books week roundup for 2013, last added: 9/25/2013
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    2. Banned Books Week 2011, a web content rundown

    It’s time for my semi-regular round up of Banned Books Week websites. You can look at past posts on this topic by checking out the bannedbooksweek tag here or here is a list of the annual posts More on the Chicago Defender.
    Here are my old Banned Books Weeks posts: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. I skipped 2005.

    As usual, you get a neat real-time look at what’s going on by following the Twitter hashtag. As usual there are two “main” sites the ALA site at ala.org/bbooks and the bannedbooksweek.org site. ALA has their usual site, links to shopping, links to the main site (which is a 404, oops), links to advocacy materials. They decided to do a virtual read-out instead of an in-person event and I’ve been clicking through some of the YouTube videos on the BBW channel. All the stuff I’ve seen so far seems like it would be what we call SFW [safe for work] and I’m vaguely curious if there could be something so racy that you’d get one of those “You have to be 14 to see this video” warnings up because, hey, that’s its own form of limiting speech. But I think that stuff is only for photos of people in their underwear, or maybe self-reported. The Banned Books Week main site has been up and down today and seems to mostly be pointing to the same stuff. They have a Twitter account but have never used it. The design gets better every year.

    Here is the list of organizations who are co-sponsors. Let’s look at their websites.

    • American Booksellers Association – hasn’t mentioned Banned Books Week on their site since 2009 if the search is to be believed. BBW does not show up under “advocacy” or “news” however a link to their blog does have news about their ongoing auction for BBW which appears to be a project of ABFFE. There are other BBW posts but no tag to find them all, though this listing is close.
    • American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression – has a wordy page with information about the Read-out and the auction and a link to their Twitter feed which is mostly about the auction.
    • American Library Association – has that clicky sli

      6 Comments on Banned Books Week 2011, a web content rundown, last added: 10/2/2011
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    3. Celebrate Bleeped Books Week

    Banned Books Week: I’d Like To Find *BLEEP*

    Find more info about Banned Books Week here.

    , , , , ,

    0 Comments on Celebrate Bleeped Books Week as of 1/1/1990
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    4. what’s happening from the middle of “banned books week” websites

    Here are my old Banned Books Weeks posts: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008. I skipped 2005.

    I’ve been down with The Crud for the past few weeks. Not really sick, but not having a lot of extra energy to get involved in things outside my own library and jobs. Banned Books Week started on Saturday and runs through this week. I’ve been invited to an evening with readings from banned books tomorrow night and I think I’m staying home.

    I’m not sure if I’m getting complacent, sick of this holiday, sick generally, or there really is a lot less enthusiasm this year from years previous. The ALA page is usually my starting point and it seems a little less lively than usual. Their calendar of events is Chicago based (wouldn’t it be great if they were an aggregator to BBW activity worldwide? Does such a thing exist) and indicates to me that they still haven’t learned to resize images before uploading them. The ALAOIF blog hasn’t posted yet this week though they did link to this cute video put out by ALA which I enjoyed. The main ALA BBW page doesn’t even link to the Banned Books Week page which is supposedly the “go to” page for current information — and does have a calendar of sorts — which has a broken stylesheet declaration which makes all the pages look like they were designed in 2003.

    As usual, I clicked through from the ALA web page to the home pages of all the organizations who are co-sponsors of Banned Books Week. Here’s what I found.

    Even ALA’s home page doesn’t mention Banned Books Week except on page six of their slide show where they tell us what we can buy to support it.

    I wonder a little bit if this is what a post-Judith Krug ALA looks like? On a brighter note, let’s look at some Banned Books Week web pages that are useful and/or interesting

    While I’m talking about this, I’d also like to mention the data on the PBS page.

    According to the ALA there have been 3,736 challenges from 2001-2008:

    * 1,225 challenges due to “sexually explicit” material
    * 1,008 challenges due to “offensive language”
    * 720 challenges due to material deemed “unsuited to age group”
    * 458 challenges due to “violence”
    * 269 challenges due to “homosexuality”
    * 103 challenges due to “anti-family”
    * 233 challenges due to “religious viewpoints”

    I think we need to look hard at this list and draw some conclusions about what sort of people believe that restricting access to books for these reasons is both a good idea or a reasonable thing to expect to be able to get away with. And then, if we want to get serious, I think we need to hit these points directly and ask people why they’re afraid of sex, or gay people (or penguins), or swearing. It’s nice to say that “free people read freely” but it’s another to be in a situation where your institutions are getting pressured by people who are intolerant and thinking that speaking truth to power is all you need to do. I’ve talked a little more about this in the MetaFilter thread about Banned Books Week, it’s always a reflective time of year for me.

    Also, ALA knows that BBW means something else, right?

    12 Comments on what’s happening from the middle of “banned books week” websites, last added: 10/2/2009
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    5. Banned Book Week, Cheryl Rainfield's challenge, & #SpeakLoudly

    It's Banned Book Week, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. 

    Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

    Cheryl Rainfield (author of SCARS) made a great post recently about Banned Book Week and issued a challenge:

    It's Banned Book Week: Speak Up and Pick Up A Good Book!

    I hope you’ll consider buying (or borrowing) and reading some of these banned books–and sharing them with others. I hope, too, that you’ll speak out about book banning–write a post about it, share your thoughts on FaceBook or Twitter.

    As Cheryl pointed out recently on her blog, you might be surprised at some of the books on the ALA's list of Top 100 Banned Books list (past decade): Harry Potter, for instance. But it's true.

    I'm going to go through this list and make a point of reading as many of these banned books as I can.

    I feel very lucky to have grown up in an area where books were never banned, but some children aren't as lucky. I'm also naive enough to still be shocked by the depth of ignorance shown by adults in modern-day society, like when an associate professor condemns books like Laurie Halse Anderson's brilliant SPEAK as "soft core pornography."

    You can follow the #SpeakLoudly discussion on Twitter.

    Find out more about Cheryl Rainfield and her book SCARS at http://www.cherylrainfield.com/.

     

    0 Comments on Banned Book Week, Cheryl Rainfield's challenge, & #SpeakLoudly as of 1/1/1900
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