Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Challenged Books of 2010

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Wow - imagine my surprise when some of my FAVORITE books are on the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Library Books of 2010! (Read article from above link).  I am either very twisted and like my books to be inappropriate, or there are some very narrow minds out there.  I'm guessing the latter, because while I may be dorky and weird sometimes, I think I'm fairly mainstream.  I also find it ironic that these same challenged books are bestsellers across the nation and even across the world.  It saddens me that these books, most of which are thought-provoking, insightful, and simply entertaining, could be banned from libraries.
I understand parental concerns about what their children read.  In fact, I completely support a parent's involvement in their child's literacy.  Everyone is entitled to their own values, opinions, and beliefs.  However, under the Library Bill of Rights, it is the parent's responsibility - not the library's - to prohibit their child's access to library resources which they find inappropriate.  And this means being aware of what the child is checking out of the library.  Of course, common sense tells us that the librarians will not allow a child to checkout material that is clearly adult, but if there is doubt, a parent should go with their child to the library.  Or at least, review their picks when they return home.
As for the challenged books, I encourage people to step out of their comfort zone once in a while.  Expand your

ALA Library Bill of RIghts
horizons, your imagination, or your view of societies and cultures that are different from your own.  Isn't that one of the reasons we read?  To better ourselves.  To learn about the world - because it's a big place with a variety of people and lifestyles.  Reading gives us a glimpse into a world unlike our own.  And even if the book doesn't challenge you intellectually or promote tolerance, it might just be a fun read, or a great escape.
And if you still don't like any of these books, then you are absolutely entitled to your opinion.  But remember, so is the rest of the public and the sole purpose of a library is to the serve that public.
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