Tuesday, April 10, 2007
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.
In Fayetteville, Arkansas, a mother overwhelmed the city schools’ materials-review procedures by requesting the removal of 70 titles she considered sexually explicit. A veterans group in Montgomery County, Texas, mulched several privately owned tomes to demonstrate how it would like to handle an unrelated 70 library books. In Hillsborough County, Florida, a display featuring materials dealing with gay people triggered a ban on county agencies holding any such event. Some state legislators chimed in, and Alabama, Florida and Oklahoma lawmakers considered resolutions urging libraries to restrict "homosexually themed books and other age-inappropriate material." The Oklahoma House passed the nonbinding measure, 81-3.
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom has recorded more than 8,500 book challenges since 1990, including 404 in 2005. Each challenge is an effort to remove books from public or school library shelves or from school curricula.
Each year, the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom receives hundreds of reports on books and other materials that were "challenged" (their removal from school or library shelves was requested). The ALA estimates the number represents only about a quarter of the actual challenges. "Most Challenged" titles include the popular Harry Potter series of fantasy books for children by J.K. Rowling. The series drew complaints from parents and others who believe the books promote witchcraft to children.
The challenges reported reflect a continuing concern with a wide variety of themes.
Other Most Challenged titles include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, for its use of language, particularly references to race; It's Perfectly Normal, a sex education book by Robie Harris, for being too explicit, especially for children; and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, for the description of rape she suffered as a child.