Banned book list excludes those banned by libraries themselves

by Jack Minor –

The American Library Association’s banned book list features two books promoting the “gay” lifestyle, including one with graphic imagery, while neglecting to list books banned by libraries themselves opposing the “gay” movement.

 Each year the ALA sponsors what it calls Banned Books Week. The event is held the last week of September and according to the ALA is intended to “highlight the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books across the United States. “

As part of banned books week, ALA compiles a list of what it considers to be the most frequently challenged books for the year. The ALA admits that not every book on the list has been banned. “Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections.”

While some people might think the banning of books is a large problem, the researcher who compiled the list says the number of complaints  are surprisingly small. 

Bryan Campbell of the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, told Dan Kleinman with SafeLibraries.org,  the number one book on the list  “And Tango Makes Three” received only four complaints last year. The book tells the story of two “gay” penguins who hatched and raised a baby chick in New York’s Central Park Zoo.

The story was heralded by “gay” activists as proof that homosexuality is a perfectly normal relationship in nature. However, one of the males, “Silo” broke the relationship off once he was introduced to a female penguin.

The ALA’s website says there were “dozens of attempts to remove ‘And Tango Makes Three’ from school and library shelves.” Klienman says when asked about the contradiction in numbers, the ALA told him the “dozens” number refers to all of the times the book has been challenged over the past five years.

Revolutionary Voices, number nine on the list was only challenged twice during the year. The book refers to itself as a “multicultural queer youth anthology.” It has also been described as pornographic and vulgar by conservative organizations. In addition to crude and vulgar sexually explicit language, an illustration in the book features two Boy Scouts watching two men engaging in sex.

Kleinman went to the New Jersey Library Association in May where he asked the author, Amy Sonnie how many challenges the book had received over the past year.  Sonnie replied the book had only received two challenges, including one in a Texas juvenile hall prison facility where the book was removed for its sexual content.

Sonnie went on to say she contacted the ALA, asking why her book had been placed on the list. Sonnie said they informed her it was made the list because unlike other books that were simply challenged, her book was actually removed.

While the AFA presents its list of banned books, it does not reveal how often libraries themselves have rejected donated books.

Regina Griggs, executive director for Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays says there have been instances where books on the ex-gay movement have been donated to libraries, but were rejected.

Griggs said “Charlie Makela, supervisor of library services for Arlington County, Virginia public schools, rejected PFOX’s donation of ex-gay books although she accepts books from gay groups.  Ms. Makela is also the chair of the ALA’s Supervisors’ Section of the American Association of School Librarians.  Shouldn’t the ALA enforce its own diversity policy?”

Griggs went on to list other examples, saying libraries in West Bend and Beaver Dam, Wisconsin have also banned donated books dealing with ex-gays.

The ALA also remained silent when a librarian was harassed and intimidated in 2006 for simply recommending a book critical of the “gay” movement. Scott Savage, the former head of Reference and Instructional Services at Bromfield Library on Ohio State’s Mansfield campus had suggested “The Marketing of Evil” by David Kupelian be included as part of a required reading list for incoming freshmen.

Savage was subsequently condemned by a 21-0 faculty vote to be investigated for “sexual harassment” after several professors including two who are openly homosexual objected to his mere recommending of the book.

One of the professor s, J.F. Buckley, said Savage’s recommendation of the book made him feel threatened and fearful.

In an e-mail, Buckley said “As a gay man I have long ago realized that the world is full of homophobic, hate-mongers who, of course, say that they are not. So I am not shocked, only deeply saddened – and THREATENED [sic] – that such mindless folks are on this great campus. … You have made me fearful and uneasy being a gay man on this campus. I am, in fact, notifying the OSU-M campus, and Ohio State University in general, that I no longer feel safe doing my job. I am being harassed.”

Judith Krug, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom told WorldNetDaily that the ALA was not getting involved because it involved a “faculty issue.”

In another interview regarding banned book week, Krug said there were instances where it would be acceptable for libraries to ban books. “On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library.  In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials.”

The ALA has taken the position that all library materials should be made available to everyone, which would include graphic and pornographic materials and that is up to the parents to monitor the content.


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  • Pam says:

    An interesting discussion. When selecting items for libraries, librarians generally prefer books which give a balanced discussion of relevant issues. Books which only present one side of an issue are less desirable, and where there is clear bias for one position and/or condemnation of other positions, that makes selection very unlikely. Factual books are preferred over opinion, and information presented as fact when it is opinion will be rejected. Where do the books you are talking about fall?

    Book budgets are limited (and falling), and even donations come with an internal cost of processing the item for loan. Every book added to the collection must be justified, and not every donation can be accepted.

  • MrSpock says:

    Your argument might make sense if it applied to every case. For instance, Revolutionary Voices does not have a section on those opposed to the gay lifestyle, so it cannot be said to present both sides of the issues. And Tango Makes Three does not do the same thing either. The same could be said of books by conservatives and liberals.

    I am not saying they have to do so, that is the right of the author. That is the idea behind having individual books covering both sides of the issue.

    It sounds as if you are claiming there is no such thing as an ex-gay. Well, there have been many of them who have testified to exactly that including Greg Quinlan the president of PFOX. Are you saying if he says he used to be gay and now is not, that is just his opinion and not a fact?

    You lament that doanted books come with a ‘internal cost of processing the item for for loan.” That is just a fancy way of saying the library has to pay the librarian for doing their job when a patron checks out the book. That is so shallow as that librarian would be getting paid during that time even if she was doing nothing.

    Are you actually implying a library should include in their criteria for a donated book if they will have an excessive amount of people checking it out?

  • William says:

    There’s no such thing as an “ex gay,” just a person in denial of his or her personhood.

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