Most have heard about banned book attempts on such titles as J.D. Salinger’s profane classic, “Catcher in the Rye,” or the recent gay marriage children’s book, “King and King,” by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland.
It’s true, according to the American Library Association. As recently as 2010, Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer, was one of the Association’s Top Ten Challenged books, most often on the basis of the would-be-book-banners’ religious viewpoints and for its depiction of violence. One school in California ordered all copies to be removed from the library—an order rescinded a short while later.
Not all books are so lucky, which is why the Rose State College Learning Resources Center is conducting activities for Banned Books week, September 30 – October 6, 2012.
In 2007 in Oklahoma, “The Bermudez Triangle,” by Maureen Johnson was ordered pulled from the shelves of the Bartlesville Mid-High Library due to its alleged depiction of homosexuality.
“The book was removed from the library. Only two of the eight committee members had read the book,” notes the report from the Oklahoma Library Association. Eventually, the book was put on a segregated shelf in the library where readership was monitored.
The attempted banning of books is alive throughout the country, and in Oklahoma as well, says Barbara Pfrehm, coordinator for this year’s Banned Books Week at Rose State College. Pfrehm works in the campus library, or Learning Resources Center.
“There are always the classics,” Pfrehm says. “’Huckleberry Finn’ for its racial overtones, ‘Catcher in the Rye’ for its profanity. In Oklahoma, the depiction of homosexuality often makes a book a target.”
Of the five challenged titles in Oklahoma, three were on the list because of issues surrounding sexual orientation. For instance, “A Tale of Two Daddies,” by Vanita Oelschlager, was asked to be removed from a library because the patron “didn't want her children exposed to this ‘alternative’ lifestyle.”
It was kept on the shelf. “We serve a diverse community,” noted the librarian’s report, suggesting that parents should be the one to monitor such access.
Not all such situations are sexuality-oriented. In 2006, notes the Oklahoma report, the Diary of Anne Frank was challenged when a superintendent and principal met with an unnamed English teacher in an unnamed school “to request book not be taught in the next school year after complaints by a parent concerning (that the book was) promoting Jewish religion.”
Rose State Banned Book Week:
Join the staff at Rose State College’s Learning Resources Center through the first week of October to celebrate the freedom to read. All events are free and open to the public.
The week’s highlights:
· Monday, Oct 1. Read-out. Everyone is welcomed to bring a favorite banned book and join this first impromptu gathering to share excerpts from banned or controversial books. You might get to experience your own favorite instructor read from a banned book. Monday and Tuesday will feature different readers and books.
10:30 am in front of LRC
· Tuesday, Oct 2. Read-out. Everyone is welcomed to bring a favorite banned book and join this second impromptu gathering to share excerpts from banned or controversial books. You might get to experience your own favorite instructor read from a banned book. Monday and Tuesday will feature different readers and books.
12 noon in front of LRC
· Wednesday, Oct 3. Panel debate. Should we or shouldn’t we? Don’t miss this panel of local Rose State College experts who will debate banning materials in libraries. When, if ever, is censorship appropriate? Faculty Panelists: Dick Frost, Michael Grady, Jim Hochtritt, and John Wood. Moderated by Ben Fenwick.
2:30-3:30 pm, LRC, Rm 109/110
· All week. Banned Book Display. Come view some books that have been banned or challenged in libraries.
Library Resources Center, 1st floor
For more detailed information go to < http://www.rose.edu/banned-books-week >.
The list of challenged books in Oklahoma for 2012, according to the Oklahoma Library Association:
“Daddy Pappa and Me,” by Newman, Leslea “Customer didn't want her children exposed to this "alternative" lifestyle.”
“I know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” Rounds, Glen “It might make kids think about dying.”
“Kitty, Kitty, Bang, Bang,” Cairo "’pornographic’ language; wouldn't be good for someone under 18 to get hold of.”
“Mommy, Mama and Me,” Newman, Leslea “Customer didn't want her children exposed to this ‘alternative’ lifestyle.
“Tale of Two Daddies,” Oelschlager, Vanita “Customer didn't want her children exposed to this ‘alternative’ lifestyle.
Mon, August 20, 2012
by Ben Fenwick