Sunday, May 13, 2012

So this is what passes for a librarian in Florida?

Over the years we've praised librarians for standing up to censorship. The American Library Association has an entire office, the Office for Intellectual Freedom, charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials.   You probably also know that the ALA sponsors Banned Books Week the first week of October to celebrate the freedom to read and the value of the First Amendment.

So what happens when it's a librarian censoring the reading made available to the public?

That's what's happening in Florida.The Brevard County Library chose recently to close the book on British author E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades.” Cathy Schweinsberg, library services director, decided after reading the novel to pull from circulation the system’s 19 copies of “Fifty Shades,” the first installment in a trilogy.

Why? Because it's about sex.

This is not because people don't want to read it. In the Volusia County system, right next door to Brevard, there are hundreds of people on the waiting list for the book, and here in Vermont you can reserve it at Listen Up Vermont, but you'll be waiting behind at least seventy-four other readers.

Library users and taxpayers in Brevard County are challenging this decision, and not just because they want to read about sex. Rather, they have the same concerns that the rest of us, and the ALA have: if the censors win here, and get to ban one book, then there is no limit to the books they are allowed to ban.

Here's hoping the readers win and the censors lose.


2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the book should not be removed from the collection, but I also think it's kind of hilarious that they paid for and acquired NINETEEN COPIES before some prude caught on.

As the saying goes, a good library has something to offend everyone.

Gwen

May 13, 2012 2:48 PM  
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