Posts Tagged ‘Banned Reading’

Censorship in the School Libraries: Banned Reading


Former Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, the late Potter Stewart, had once said, ‘Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.’ So, is it the society’s lack of confidence in its basic moralities that has led to the Censorship in school libraries?

The school library has now turned into a battle field of sorts with censors group and the curiosity of students to delve into diverse literature fighting each other. And curbing this desire, are many. If there are Fundamentalists, opposing abortion issues, then there are feminists protesting backdated female stereotypes. If there is African-American groups objecting to the portrayal of their race, then there are parents who simply judge ban by what trouble them individually!

Way back, in 1982, Island Trees Union Free School District No 26 had withdrawn a number of books from the library, for they feared that these books could fuel anti-American, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic sentiments. The students and their parents challenged the board’s decision. The United States Supreme Court passed a judgement, which stated only books that were ‘educationally unsuitable’ shall be removed. The point is, strangely censorship of books in libraries has crossed these limits.

Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been banned for the ‘nigger’ word, but has it ever occurred to the supporters of the ban that Twain wanted to tell the truth of slavery in its own language. Treasure Island was another book that few censors in Ohio tried to remove it from the library shelves, reason being the book might encourage children to commit piracy. There are books like Sweet Valley, ‘Animorphs’, and the ‘Goosebumps’ series, so popular yet often damned for they lack literary merit.

Censorship has its own set of detractors, but is it not really true, that kids do at times, try to imitate their favourite literary characters? Many child psychologists do recommend that literature for young children should be based on simple concepts and in an ideal way. Censorship undoubtedly goes overboard at many times, and therefore it is important to know and understand the point to stop. Obviously we cannot stop teaching mythology for it has magic, or History for it has war, or Macbeth for it has murders!

All articles contributed in full or part by Athens Learning college preparedness resource.