Friday September 02nd 2005, 10:37 am
Filed under: Book Bans
From the LA Times:
Attempts to have library books removed from shelves increased by more than 20% in 2004 over the previous year, according to a new survey by the American Library Assn.
Three books with gay themes, including Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” were among the works most criticized.
“It all stems from a fearfulness of well-meaning people,” says Michael Gorman, president of the library association. “We believe in parental responsibility, and that you should take care of what your children are reading. But it’s not your responsibility to tell a whole class of kids what they should read.”
The number of books challenged last year jumped to 547, compared to 458 in 2003, with the library group estimating four to five unreported cases for each one documented. According to the ALA, a challenge is “a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.”
The ALA study was to be released today in anticipation of the 25th annual Banned Books Week, which runs Sept. 24 to Oct. 1 and is co-sponsored by the ALA, the American Booksellers Assn. and others. Gorman acknowledged that few books are actually banned, adding that Banned Books Week is a “catchy name.”