Saturday, February 4, 2012

True Stories of Censorship Battles in America's Libraries

This new title, edited by Valerie Nye and Kathy Barco, was published by ALA, copyright 2012. It is available from several sources.

The book is divided into various themes or "parts:"

* Sometimes we're our own worst enemy: when library employees are censors;

* How dare you recommend this book to a child: reading levels and sophisticated topics;

* Not only boy scouts should be prepared: building strong policies;

* When the tribe has spoken: working with Native American collections;

* Conversation + Confrontation + Controversy = Combustion: vocal organization and publicly debated challenges;

* Crime and punishment: when library patrons have committed a crime; and

* Perhaps it is possible to judge a book by its cover: displays.

The book concludes with discussion questions, a list of contributors, and a solid index. Disclosure: I wrote a chapter on "Uncle Bobby's Wedding."

The collection includes stories from all types of libraries: public, academic, school, and special. I'm still dipping into them, but find them all to be pretty direct and honest stories, told by real people. This is what defending intellectual freedom is like.

Like most professional books, it's pricey: $40. But of course it underwrites various other ALA activities. I can recommend the book for most library collections.

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In November of 2018, I left my position at ALA in Chicago to return to my Colorado-based writing, speaking, and consulting career. So I'...