Weekly Roundup! (Banned Books edition)

Each week, we reflect on the top articles, blog posts, tweets, news, thoughts, and other tidbits we’ve found interesting or useful. This week we are sharing resources related to anti-censorship, freedom of information, and inclusive spaces. Enjoy!


This week TIME magazine compared the top ten lists of banned and challenged books from 2001 and 2015 and speculated on what the differences say about our society. According to the article, the ALA is receiving less reports of banned and challenged books in all, but that this may indicate that fewer people speak up when a book is removed.



Using the internet in the library? Do you know if it’s being filtered? What are the problems with filters? You might be surprised to know that content filtering has been going on since the ’90s and research earlier this year in the UK explored just how much and what type was in place in public libraries.



This year, the ALA reported that LGBT stories dominate the 2016 Banned Books List. Specifically, many of the books on the list deal with trans narratives. I guess with more visibility without societal acceptance comes more hate and backlash.

One book that I’m not surprised to see on the list is Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, I have very strong negative feelings about this book, but this continual dismissal of it by feminists and librarians reminds me of a post I wrote about my struggle between intellectual freedom and anti-neutrality. Do I think this book is harmful? Yeah, but I don’t support it being banned! I think maybe librarians should be better about information literacy instead of shaming “shoddy and pernicious books.”


This year’s theme for the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week is “diverse books.” In an article for Library School Journal, Dr. Emily Knox, an LIS faculty member and author of Banned Books in the 21st Century America, extrapolates on this year’s theme of diverse books, what makes them so compelling and why they are such popular targets for censorship. “These books speak to the human condition,” she writes. Read more from Dr. Knox in their article at School Library Journal.

On an unrelated note, it has come to our attention that in certain situations, our readers are exposed to advertising on the HackLibrarySchool website, sponsored and maintained by WordPress. WordPress controls and maintains this space as a “tax” for the “free” use of their platform. Writers, editors, and the Hack Library School collective do not endorse or condone any product, person, or place promoted through these ads.


Do you remember the Connecticut Four? Back in 2005, FBI agents demanded library records under the Patriot Act, and then told them it was a felony to talk about it. Now the Connecticut Four are reuniting as the Senate attempts to expand what kinds of information that governments can compel libraries and similar institutions to divulge.


Read this phenomenal essay about the banning of The Color Purple and the racial connotations of who “we” are protecting. Also, I love my Apple products, but data collection on iPhones can be scary! Sadly a library worker was arrested for protecting a patron’s right to free speech during a public library event in may and is currently still being charged.


Cover photo from JSMetcalf Photos on Flickr Commons.  Licensed under CC 2.0.

Categories: Weekly Round-Up

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