Monday, September 26, 2011

Banned Books Week is Gay Promotion? Author Admits ALA Faked 2010 Top 10 Challenged Book List

A recording I made of an author essentially admitting that the American Library Association's [ALA] Top 10 challenged list is faked and used to promote a political agenda has become the subject of an exclusive, top billed report on WorldNetDaily:




I am just the messenger.  I am just reporting what author Amy Sonnie said as to why her book placed #9 on the ALA's 2010 list of challenged books.  Actually, Amy Sonnie is reporting, and I merely have a tape recording of what she said at a New Jersey Library Association meeting that I attended.  The story is big because the ALA faked its top 10 list, one of the listed authors essentially admitted as much and the admission was recorded, and the list is promoted and taken as the truth nationwide.

Go read the WND report to see for yourself.

The ALA faked #9 and awarded school librarian Dee Venuto for LGBT-related reasons, a librarian who admitted in a New Jersey Education Association publication that she cannot bring herself to read racy material for children so she lets her students read it for her.

Might the ALA have faked #1, And Tango Makes Three, also about the same "big deal"?  Well, it was challenged only four times yet it is supposedly #1.  We are talking about an organization that used plagiarism to promote Banned Books Week, after all.

The story is an exclusive, and it headlines WorldNetDaily!


Think about it.  If the top book challenged in the USA was challenged only four times in a year, obviously there is no crisis that the ALA keeps shouting about.  If the ALA has to artificially push LGBT material higher on the list, obviously there is no crisis about the "big deal."  Even progressive critics of the ALA decry the ALA's use of BBW as "propaganda."

Can anyone ever trust the ALA for anything ever again?  Really, I mean it.  Faked lists.  Plagiarism.  Political agenda.  Propaganda.  So much more I'm leaving out for brevity.  Is there no limit to the ALA's dishonesty?

See more on National Hogwash Week here:


NOTE ADDED 6 OCTOBER 2011:

Remarkable.  The ALA posted a YouTube video of author Amy Sonnie speaking in support of Banned Books Week.  I "favorited" the video and left a comment in favor of the author but critical of the ALA.

The ALA removed the comment!  The self-arrogated freedom of speech advocates deleted my free speech!  I'll take that as further evidence of guilt.

Here's what I said, followed by a graphic of what it looked like online with "All Comments (1)" before the ALA deleted it:

I really admire Amy Sonnie.  I spoke with her for a half hour at a New Jersey Library Association meeting and saw her speak there. 
That said, her book has not been banned and the ALA admitted to her that in truth her book was not the 9th most challenged of 2010.  See "Is Library Association's 'Banned Book Week' Really 'Gay' Promotion?; Critic Calls Event a 'Hoax Perpetrated on the American Public Since 1982,'" by Dave Tombers, WorldNetDaily, 25 September 2011. 
So the ALA top 10 list is faked.

Comment supporting Amy Sonnie but criticizing
ALA's faked top 10 list


And here is what it says now in bold, red typeface with "All Comments (0)" when I tried to repost the comment:

You have been blocked by the owner of this video.


So much for freedom of speech.

I'll be posting soon about how the ALA has tacitly admitted it plagiarized a low quality "censorship map," exactly as I said about a year ago.  I'll point out that plagiarism violates its own code of ethics and I'll demand some action be taken, else the code is mere window dressing.  Let's see if/how the ALA will block me on my own blog.  We already know the ALA has gotten me blocked on Wikipedia.  So the free speech people got me blocked from Wikipedia and now from YouTube.

So much for freedom of speech.

Remarkable.


NOTE ADDED 9 APRIL 2012:

In what I view as a major if tacit acknowledgement by the ALA that it fakes the annual top 10 challenged book list to use the LGBT community to promote the ALA's own interests, after claiming And Tango Makes Three is in the annual challenged book list "for the past five years," and after I exposed the fraud used to promote that work and another, the book has disappeared from the 2011 list:


Indeed, "homosexuality" as a reason to remove material is entirely missing from this year's list.  So the very two books I pointed out were falsely promoted by the ALA, the only two claiming "homosexuality" as the reason they were on the list, even one being persistently on the list, have been removed, and there are no others under the "homosexuality" category to replace them.

Listen to the 2010 award-winning author admitting the ALA faked the list to promote her LGBT book, starting at about the 45:13 mark, as reported in the WND piece above.

As research shows faking claims of LGBT harassment results in increased, not decreased, LGBT harassment and suicide, I am very happy that I have, it appears, stopped the ALA from faking claims about LGBT community harassment that harms the LGBT community while helping the ALA.  Yes, the ALA harms the LGBT community, and faking the 2010 list was just one way.

I'll never hear from any in the LGBT community who have not been harassed as a result of stopping the ALA from making false harassment claims that thereby harms the LGBT community, but I still feel good that I may have contributed even a little to improving the lives of those in the LGBT community who may have been targeted as a result of the ALA false harassment claims.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week: An Interview with Judith Krug

"Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week: 
An Interview with Judith Krug
46 Curriculum Review 1, September 2006, p.12

Judith Krug
Judith Krug has served as director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom since it was founded in 1968, and helped to found Banned Books Week in 1982.  This year, Banned Books Week will be held September 23-30.  To learn more, visit ala.org/bbooks.  To hear a podcast of this Q&A, go to CurriculumReview.com.

Please tell us the story of how Banned Books Week got started.

Back in 1982, I got a call in June from the Association of American Publishers.  They said, "We've just discovered there have been a slew of books banned.  We should do something to bring this to the attention of the American public.  While you're guaranteed your freedom to read by the First Amendment, if you don't use that right, it's going to die."  I really liked the idea.  And he said, "One of the things we could do is to put all of the books that we know have been banned in the last 10 or 15 years in a cage, and put a chain around the cage so people can visualize that these books are locked up because somebody or some group doesn't want you to read them and you should make up your own mind about them."  So I went to the ALA's Intellectual Freedom Committee, laid the idea out before them, and six weeks later we celebrated the first Banned Books Week.  And it has grown unbelievably since then.  It's celebrated in thousands of libraries and a substantial number of bookstores.

How many school book challenges in the United States does your office hear about every year?

I can't give you precise numbers, but approximately three-quarters of the challenges we hear about are school-related.  It is a whopping number.

Your Web site indicates that last year your office heard about more than 400 challenges, but that probably just scratched the surface.

My rule of thumb is, for every challenge we know about, there are four to five out there that we don't know about.  We only recorded 405 challenges last year, down from 547 in 2004.  And trust me, attempts to remove materials are not decreasing, they are increasing.  There are a lot of reasons why people are not reporting challenges to us.  They just get terribly caught up in protecting themselves. But we're there to help teachers, administrators and librarians.  I'm not going to dictate what they do, but I'm certainly going to provide assistance if they want it.  You never have to fight a censorship battle alone.  The Office for Intellectual Freedom has an incredible program.  We provide everything from a dry shoulder to cry on—because we understand what you're going through—all the way up to legal assistance that will take you to the U.S. Supreme Court.

So whatever the comfort level is, at least try to report those challenges so you have better data moving forward.

Exactly.  And then we really know what's going on.  We work with several states, and we're trying to get more states, to do a survey every year.  Oregon does one, and the state of Washington is going to start one this year.  They send an inquiry to every public library and school library in the state.  They ask what materials, if any, were challenged and why—and what was the outcome?  And the information that comes to the Office for Intellectual Freedom is confidential.  The only things we report are the titles, the authors, and the state the challenge occurred in.

Do many of those challenges that you hear about succeed in getting material removed from schools?

The challenges we hear about are the ones where the materials have stayed on the shelves.  One of the reasons I think we don't learn about some of these attempts to remove materials is because they were successful.  If some of my colleagues have folded, in effect, or if the process has resulted in the removal of materials, occasionally they're not willing to make this kind of information public.  We have to rely on the media to report those incidents, and very often the media are not doing their job, either.

What are some of the most commonly challenged titles?  Does it go in cycles?

Yes and no.  Julie of the Wolves was on our list 20 years ago, and two years ago it was one of our Top 10 most challenged materials.  The kinds of materials that we see recurring on the Top 10 list on a relatively frequent basis are materials like Of Mice and Men, Catcher in the Rye, Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  If they're not on the list every year, they're certainly not off the list for very long.  Of Mice and Men is almost always on the list because of the language.

Some popular current books get caught up in the cycle, too.  The Harry Potter books have seen a lot of challenges in recent years.

Oh, yes. I always find that amazing as well as amusing.  Here are books that have brought an entire generation of young people back to reading.  I can't tell you how many young people go into libraries and ask the librarian, "Do you have anything else like this?"  And of course there's loads of materials like Harry Potter, wonderful stories.  The other thing about challenges is that people don't challenge materials that don't say something to the reader.  If you look over the materials that have been challenged and banned over the years, they are the materials that speak to the condition of the human being, that try to illuminate the issues and concerns that affect human beings.  They're books that say something, and they're books that have meaning to the reader.  Innocuous materials are never challenged.  When I look over the Banned Books Week lists, I'm basically looking at the Who's Who of 20th- and now 21st-century American literature.

Why do you believe it's so important to fight against book bans in schools?

Because schools are where children learn.  Schools are where children have an opportunity to expand their minds, to look at things that they might not have any interest in until they're sitting in a classroom.  It's so important to let them explore what's out there in the safe environment of the schools.  If they have an issue or concern, they can talk to the teacher.  It's absolutely vital to just turn kids loose in the library.  Let the children try it.  If they don't understand it, they're going to put it down, and what harm has been done?  My belief is that if they do understand it, they're ready for it, and they should be reading it.  Now, I know all parents don't agree with me, and that's all okay.  But that's what I believe.

Are there ever instances when you think it's appropriate for a school to ban a book?

On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library.  In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials.  If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.  But materials that adhere to the material selection statement that every school has, and that have been duly selected, we would fight alongside every librarian and every teacher to keep the books available.

Can you share tips for those battling school book challenges?

The first thing is, they never have to fight alone.  We're there to help them.  And when we discuss what can be done, we really try to tailor our assistance to what the political situation is and what the pressures are in the local community.  But if the community is concerned about good education, they have to be concerned if somebody tries to have materials removed from availability to the young people.  In that case, mobilizing the community, writing letters to the editor of the local newspaper, making sure people are at the school board meetings to defend the book—these are standard kinds of procedures that we recommend.  The book needs to have its day in court and have its good points pointed out.  Very often the teachers will step up to the plate, along with students themselves.  Any student who reads a piece of material is probably going to gain something from it.  Recreational reading, fun, is something they gain, as well as more knowledge, satisfaction of curiosity—the whole range of reasons why people read.

Anything we haven't covered that is important to get out there?

Any time a piece of material is challenged in a school and a teacher says to me, "Well, we won that battle, now what should I do?"  I say, "Why don't you tell your class, 'This book I'm holding in my hand, and these books on this list I'm holding in my other hand are all books that somebody decided you shouldn't have the opportunity to read.  So I think you all should pick a book and read it and tell us why you think you should be allowed to read that book.'"  Some of the responses we get back from exercises like that make me sing.  They are just wonderful.  They renew my faith in not only these young people, but in the future of this country.

# # # 30 # # #

This has been presented by SafeLibraries for educational purposes and more as allowed by US Copyright §107.  Copyright belongs to the original owner, not SafeLibraries.  No commentary has been added to this page to allow for unbiased review.  As a portion of the content of this article has been in the news, I thought it best to make the entire article available.  The graphic was added by me and is from the cover of American Libraries, May 2009.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Banned Books Week Propaganda Exposed by Progressive Librarian Rory Litwin; ALA Censors Out Criticism of Its Own Actions in a Manner Dishonest to the Core

Banned Books Week propaganda
Progressive librarian Rory Litwin of Library Juice fame has just exposed the propaganda used by the American Library Association [ALA] that is "Banned Books Week."  Read him carefully to see how his statements remarkably align with the ALA's activities I have been reporting, and later I will show how the ALA is dishonest to the core, even apart from the propaganda:


Comparison of Rory Litwin Quotes with Past SafeLibraries Observations

Rory said:
My problem with Banned Books Week is one that is probably shared by some conservatives, and it has to do with the loose definition of what a 'banned book' is, and what a 'challenged book' is, 
and I said essentially the same thing in:



Rory said:
The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, is a propaganda exercise that fails to model good standards for democratic communication, 
and I said essentially the same thing in:



Rory said:
School districts have policies in place for reviewing challenges to books on the basis of age-appropriateness.  Challenged books are reviewed and evaluated by committees that are charged with that responsibility, and then the school district makes an official decision regarding the book.  Regardless of what the school's decision turns out to be, regardless of its reasonableness or unreasonableness, and regardless of the objectivity or bias within the decision-making process in a specific case, all challenges to a book by a parent get counted as an attempt at book banning, 
and I said essentially the same thing in:



Rory said:
But when a book is challenged and reviewed on the grounds of age-appropriateness, it is ultimately not the family that brought the challenge that makes the decision. The decision is made by the educational institution itself, 
and I said essentially the same thing in:



Rory said:
But the decision about whether a book should remain a part of the curriculum or not is ultimately made by the public institution that put the book in the curriculum in the first place, which means that book challenges happen as a part of a process that the institution puts in place in order to get feedback from the community on the curriculum, 
and I said essentially the same thing in:




ALA Finally Gives Dissent Significant Coverage

Remarkably, the ALA has done something it almost never does, namely, give significant coverage to disagreement with ALA propaganda.  Here it purports to quote Rory Litwin's criticism:

  • "Actions & Answers," by American Library Association, American Libraries Direct, 31 August 2011:
    My problem with Banned Books Week
    Rory Litwin writes: “The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, fails to model good standards for democratic communication. Here is what I mean. Book banning, good people agree, should be fought against and is a source of inspiration to fight for what is right. Banned Books Week taps into people’s responses to these historical narratives and aims to prevent the suppression of ideas from recurring. But what counts as a ‘banned book’ is actually a ‘challenged book,’ and what counts as a challenged book is something quite different from an effort to prevent a book from being published, sold, or even made available in a library.”... Library Juice, Aug. 28

Screen shot of American Libraries Direct in case ALA
should whitewash it by changing language after I publish
this blog post, as it has done before.
For example, the ALA has never given coverage to my exposing its use of admittedly low quality material that it plagiarized to promote a "censorship map" as part of its propaganda for Banned Books Week.  That plagiarized map is still being promoted by the ALA even after a year and a half.  See:



But look carefully at that ALA quote of Rory Litwin more closely.  It is a misquote, and apparently intentionally so.  The ALA leaves out select portions of the quote referencing propaganda and the problem with Banned Books Week, making it sound completely different than what Rory Litwin actually said.  The ALA does this by using a technique remarkably similar to Soviet-style censorship that makes things disappear that are not politically palatable.


Compare the Actual Text to the Whitewashed Text

To make it more obvious, allow me to place the relevant sentences side by side, then highlight the section the ALA conveniently left out or added.

Example of Soviet-style censorship.
The actual Rory Litwin quote:
The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, is a propaganda exercise that fails to model good standards for democratic communication.
Here is what I mean.
.... Book banning, good people agree, should be fought against, and is a source of inspiration to fight for what is right. Banned Books Week taps into people’s response to these historical narratives and aims to prevent the suppression of ideas from recurring. ....
The problem that I see with Banned Books Week is that what counts as a “banned book” is actually a “challenged book,” and what counts as a challenged book is something quite different from an effort to prevent a book from being published, sold, or even made available in a library.

The actual ALA quote quoting Rory Litwin:
Rory Litwin writes: "The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, fails to model good standards for democratic communication. Here is what I mean. Book banning, good people agree, should be fought against and is a source of inspiration to fight for what is right. Banned Books Week taps into people’s responses to these historical narratives and aims to prevent the suppression of ideas from recurring. But what counts as a ‘banned book’ is actually a ‘challenged book,’ and what counts as a challenged book is something quite different from an effort to prevent a book from being published, sold, or even made available in a library."


Dishonesty to the Core

No, Rory Litwin did not write that.  The ALA left out "is a propaganda exercise that" without the proper use of the ellipsis. The "propaganda exercise" is Rory's point and is the subject of the sentence.  "That fails to model good standards for democratic communication" is a modifier of the subject.  The actual sentence is, "The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, is a propaganda exercise that fails to model good standards for democratic communication."  By leaving out the subject and the modifier, the ALA effectively changes the subject and that changes the entire sentence to something Rory Litwin did not say: "The Banned Books Week project, well-intended as it may be, fails to model good standards for democratic communication."  No, it is not Banned Books Week that fails to model good standards.  Rather, it is that Banned Books Week is propaganda, and the exercise of propaganda fails to model good standards.

And what the ALA left out is Rory Litwin's main point and his essential criticism of the ALA.  He uses the word root for "propaganda" three times and even links one use to a hyperlink, so important was that subject to Rory.  But the ALA, acting in its own self interest, just cut it out without the slightest indication of having done so.  That's no mistake.  That is dishonesty to the core.

The ALA left out "The problem that I see with Banned Books Week is that," while adding instead "But" without the proper editorial marks to let a reader know the author as quoted, and he is quoted with quotation marks, did not actually say those words.  One uses square brackets to do that, like [this].  "To give context to a quote or otherwise add wording to it, place added words in brackets, []; be careful not to editorialize or make any additions that skew the original meaning of the quote—do that in your main text...."  The ALA did not do that.  It simply left key phrases out with no indication they were ever there in the first place or added material in place of critical text.

Failure to use the proper form of an ellipsis could misrepresent the work of another person and result in legal liability for the writer.  Correct use of ellipses, on the other hand, shows that the writer has carefully attended to detail, and thus increases the reader's confidence in the reliability of the written work


ALA Omissions Misrepresent Others and Decrease Reliability of ALA Statements

I contend the omissions do indeed misrepresent the work of another, and do indeed decrease the reliability of statements from the ALA, especially so where the omissions appear to be both intentional and self-serving.

The omissions give a whole different reading to Rory Litwin's quote.  That is obviously why the ALA left out those phrases.  But in doing so it also left out the required editorial marks needed to make quotes accurate.  And given it left out references to propaganda and the problem with Banned Books Week, this action is likely intentional, particularly in light of past instances of similar whitewashing by the ALA, as we are about to see.


The ALA's Propaganda Whitewash is Ironic But Not Novel

The irony of this is unbelievable as the ALA advises local communities it is censorship to keep children from inappropriate material.  But this is consistent with previous ALA miscues involving redaction of records after having been caught, such as I detail here:


One has to wonder why the ALA continues to feel the need to cover up for its own actions.


When Will the ALA Stop Besmirching Its Own Reputation By Using Propaganda And Whitewashing Missteps?

I am truly shocked I even have to bring this disgraceful conduct by the ALA to your attention.  Were the ALA to act honorably, none of this would be an issue.  I would not need to say what I say.  Rory Litwin would not need to say what he said.  People of all political stripes are starting to stand up to the ALA's propaganda.  Don't let anyone claim it's this or that political bent.  False.  It's everyone.

It's time for the ALA to represent people, not mislead people with propaganda and a variant of Soviet-style censorship that is dishonest to the core.  I challenge the ALA to do so.  Thank you for reading my opinion.


Bravo, Rory

Remember, read "My Problem with Banned Books Week," by Rory LitwinLibrary Juice, 28 August 2011.

Bravo, Rory.


NOTE ADDED 13 SEPTEMBER 2011:

Rory Litwin has today interviewed me via FaceBook and published the interview: