Book Challenges at a Group Rate

From USA Today:

Parents have long raised concerns about school and library books — children’s and young adult books, and sometimes dictionaries — often for inappropriate content. The number of reported challenges in the past 30 years has hovered between about 400 or 500 each year, says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, an attorney with the American Library Association.

Whereas challenges once were mostly launched by a lone parent, Caldwell-Stone says she has noticed "an uptick in organized efforts" to remove books from public and school libraries.

It’s a good article on how book challenges are gathering strength through organizing. Perhaps the profession should take a lesson from such an idea.

This article reminded me of something I have seen in book challenges in past. I find very interesting is how people will generally gloss over the fact that challenges is not limited to social conservative or religious types. There are book challenges originating from the other end of the spectrum from the overly egalitarian and liberal end for depictions of issues and characters considered racist, homophobic, xenophobic, or otherwise (for lack of a better word) unhappy depictions of life situations. For all the grumbled commentary about superstitious morality freaks, there is an unequal amount of outrage for challenges that emerge from the politically correct socially sensitive end.

If you mock the rationale of one group of people for wanting a book removed yet ignore reasoning from groups that are ideologically similar to yourself, then you’re doing it wrong. A book is a book, folks. You can’t win all the battles to keep them on the shelves, but don’t surrender to those you would otherwise consider to be kindred spirits.

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