“Banned Books Week,” episode 743

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I hesitate to call Dennis Ingolfsland, of The Recliner Commentaries, a “fellow librarian,” since he’s the real thing and I’m an on-the-job-trained poseur. But I know enough to recommend this piece about the American Library Association’s “Banned Books Week.”

The fact is that there are no banned books in America. Maybe I missed it but I don’t recall seeing any articles in the Library Journal or American Libraries protesting that other religion and those other countries which really do ban books.

(Picture credit: Jupiter Images)

4 thoughts on ““Banned Books Week,” episode 743”

  1. I’m consistently surprised when people mistake the “censorship” of the free market with the censorship that comes from oppressive governments. Having no one want to buy or stock a particular piece of work isn’t the same as being beaten with rubber hoses by the secret police for writing it. Those who confuse the two need to watch The Lives of Others.

  2. I heard about that movie. I’d like to see it sometime. I’ll bet the kid in the image above is reading The Catcher in the Rye or something boring like that.

  3. I think the distinction is sometimes drawn when books are popular within a large minority at a local level (say, a small town’s public library) but are banned or eliminated (from that public library, though not, of course, from bookstores and private libraries) as the result of another, ideologically-motivated minority or majority group.

    The argument, as far as I can tell, is that the government is blocking a supply of an in-demand book on ideological grounds. (Which is pretty much the job description of a librarian, assuming he or she doesn’t work for the Library of Congress, and assuming Marx is right and that everything involves ideology.) But of course librarians do the job silently, with book selection, whereas small-town legislation is generally noisy, and involves protesting books that are already there.

    But with book prices being what they are, it is hard to see how that means anyone who really wanted to read the book would be blocked from doing so. Interlibrary loans are, for the most part, rather cheap if not free.

  4. “Banned Books Week” always struck me as an exercise in vanity; an opportunity for librarians to congratulate themselves for their “courage” in standing up against us nasty, puritanical, Christian book-burners. Their silence about regimes where books are really banned tells me everything I need to know about their courage.

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