Monday, May 29, 2006

Why? Why? Why?

If you are local to the Pelham Public Library and have signed up for Fahrenheit 451: The Banned Book Club, you have filled out response cards that ask why you think a particular book is banned. I found a web site that gives the major reasons why books are banned or challenged. While this particular article addresses issues in the school curricula, many of the same reasons would apply to challenges to materials in public libraries.

According to Censorship of Curriculum Materials, by JeanMarie Aurnague-DeSpain and Alan Bass, challenges generally arise in the following areas:

* sex and drug education
* literature showing children challenging parents and authorities
* teaching evolution without reference to creationism
* showing women behaving in nontraditional ways
* "invasions of privacy" -- projects requiring students to share personal information.

Other reasons arise out of concerns that the contents of the book will be harmful to the reader. According to the ALA (American Library Association, there are four motivating factors:

* Family Values
* Religion
* Political Views
* Minority Rights.

The next time you read a book that has been banned or challenged, see if you can figure out the major reason why it has faced challenges.

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