September 30, 2012

Banned Books Week

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Libraries stand for many things.  We stand for inclusion.  We stand for literacy.  We stand for free choice.  And we stand against censorship.

The American Library Association (ALA) encourages libraries, booksellers, teachers, and individuals to participate in Banned Books Week, which this year is September 30th through October 6th.  We use this time to call attention to freedom of choice, censorship, and the situations of others who are not so free.

You have the freedom of choice.  You may choose anything you want to read, listen to, or view, and only you can decide if it's right for you.  The ALA's Freedom to Read Statement outlines many ways in which censorship and bias can creep in unsuspected: censorship is not confined only to refusing to purchase the material, to refusing to publish material, or to removing material from the library's collection.  Putting a book for teens, a book which addresses difficult or controversial topics, in the Adult area works to remove that book from the hands of young readers.  Not allowing children under certain ages to check out Young Adult material, Adult material, or movies of certain ratings removes the power of choice from these readers.

In our Board-approved Neill Public Library Collection Development Policy, we outline Neill's policy on censorship and choice:
The Neill Public Library Board of Trustees believes the only acceptable censorship is self-censorship.  The Neill Public Library Board of Trustees supports the guidelines by the American Library Association in its Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement and Freedom to View Statement...and considers all materials selected under this policy to be constitutionally protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Therefore, it is the intent of the Board that no challenged library material shall be removed from the collection except upon court order, and after adversary proceedings in which the Neill Public Library Board defends inclusion of the material, unless said material was placed in the collection in violation of this policy.

Nevertheless, Neill Public Library recognizes the right of individuals to question materials in the library collection.  Individuals may request reconsideration of a selection decision of library material by completing the Reconsideration of Library Form...

The Neill Public Library Board, upon request, hears appeals of the Director's (or Librarian designee's) written response... 

You are the only person who can decide what is right for you.  No one else gets to make that choice.  That also means that you cannot make that choice for anyone else.  We encourage you to make decisions for yourself and to say "I find that book appalling," "I will supervise my children's reading so that they do not read that author until they are older," or "I don't think that book should have been published."  We forcefully resist any statements or requests that say "I want that book removed from the library" or "I want to make sure no one else can ever read this book." 
Please continue to join us throughout the week for more information on Banned Books, and stop by the library for more information on this year's most Frequently Challenged Books.

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