Because of the holiday in the U.S. this week, the roundup of book censorship news and insights will be shorter than usual.
Although there are several right-wing groups eager to implement movie-style book ratings to library titles, the reality is, book rating systems are an exercise in futility and bias. Julia Rittenberg does an outstanding job explaining why book rating systems would not work, and in addition, I recommend tuning into a recent episode of the You’re Wrong About podcast that delves into the history of the movie rating system and how easily bought, subverted, and problematic it has been. After you’ve read and listened to those two deep dives into the challenges of book rating systems, you’ll want to then read Richard Price’s Thoughts on Ratings.
The fact is, books have ratings systems on them. They’re put into categories, and books for young people are given age ranges for suggested audiences. But moreover, it is every caretaker’s responsibility to know what their children — and their children only — are reading and talk with them about what they can and cannot access.
In the wake of another hate crime committed this week toward queer people, all enjoying their weekend at a gay bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado, here’s a reminder that there is a straight line between bigotry toward books and the murder of innocent LGBTQ+ people.
This is not, nor has it ever been, about the books.
Book Censorship News: November 25, 2022
- A town in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, plans to cut their funding to the library because it “doesn’t reflect the town’s conservative values.” Alas, that’s not how it works.
- Without a funding source, the Patmos Public Library (MI), which has had its millage rates rejected in two elections because of 4 (FOUR!) queer books being challenged, will close in September 2024.
- Owasso Public Schools (OK) removed all 3,000 of their graphic novels “for review” after ONE parental complaint.
- A number of books have apparently been pulled from shelves and others put “under lock and key” in Spartanburg Public Libraries (SC). What those are or why they were removed are some key elements missing from this reporting.
- “St. Marys City Commission [KS] is threatening the existence of a public library for simply having Gino’s book in stock.” This is where we are.
- The ACLU is investigating bathroom and book bans which were implemented in Keller and Frisco Independent School Districts (TX) last week. These are very obvious civil rights violations, pushed by extremists on those boards.
- Hempfield Area School District (PA) is going to continue fighting over book challenges and purchase policies next week.
- Kapaa Public Library (HI) has a challenge over the book Let’s Talk About It.
- How It All Blew Up will remain on shelves in Willard Public Schools (MO). They recently removed Oryx and Crake.
- A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart will stay on shelves in Hendersonville Schools (TN). It was originally challenged because it referenced Black Lives Matter.
- ““To imply that the librarians at the Millard School District [UT], even through negligence, are stocking libraries with material harmful to children is nothing short of insulting,” she told the board. “Make no mistake. When we vilify the books selected…we are vilifying the people who selected those books. In a county with no book stores and where a great portion of parents cannot afford to pay for their child’s lunch, let alone buy extra books, removing a book from the school library is effectively denying children and their parents the choice to read it.”” This article does a good job of explaining that the book ban movement — and the charge led in this district by a person who does not even have kids in it — is political and not at all about protecting kids.
- The Idaho Liberty Dogs have been dogging Meridian Public Library (ID) and this week, the trustees and staff reemphasized that they do not have the right to take away First Amendment Rights from others.
- Carroll Community School District (IA) met on Monday to review 10 books being challenged in the district. According to the update on the meeting, only one book was actually discussed, and Sold will remain available in the library.
- Surprise, surprise: the list of books pulled for review in Beaufort County, South Carolina, came from a local conservative politician…who took the same titles from Moms For Liberty, who submitted just minutes later. The writer could stop lending legitimacy to the hate group, though.
- Salvage The Bones is under a challenge in Guilford County Schools (NC).
- “A group of Van Meter [IA] parents has filed a petition asking the district to get rid of curriculum that introduces LGBTQ+ topics into the classroom.” I guess if you never mention queer people, they’ll simply not exist.
- LGBTQ+ books are under fire at the Parkersburg Public Library (WV), though no action has been taken by the city council who heard the complaints.
Also In This Story Stream
- The “Culture War” Designation is Journalistic Negligence: Book Censorship News, December 2, 2022
- My Book, Plus 300+ Others, Is Banned in Missouri: Book Censorship News, November 18, 2022
- There Are Not Two Sides to the Holocaust: Book Censorship News, November 11, 2022
- Book Banners are Weaponizing Legitimate Resources: Book Censorship News, October 28, 2022
- Republicans Propose Federal “Don’t Say Gay” Bill: Book Censorship News, October 21, 2022
- What’s a Book Sanctuary?: Book Censorship News, October 14, 2022
- Book Banners Insist They Don’t Ban Books: Book Censorship News, October 7, 2022
- Who “Parental Rights” Groups Leave Out: Book Censorship News, September 30, 2022
- Who Are The Groups Banning Books Near You?: Book Censorship News, September 23, 2022