- "Is It Time To Rate Young Adult Books for Mature Content? A New Report Finds that Nearly All Young Adult Bestsellers Contain at Least Some Profanity," by Jason Koebler, U.S. News & World Report, 18 May 2012:
Coyne thinks a ratings system on book jackets would help parents decide what's appropriate for their kids to read. It's a subject many are afraid to touch, with the talk of censorship or restricting books conjuring up images of book burnings and infringing on First Amendment Rights.
While books like Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars aren't ever going to end up alongside Catcher in the Rye or Huckleberry Finn in American literary canon, those books' messages are still important, experts argue.
"Books can be a safe way for young people to explore edgier, sensitive, or complicated topics, and they provide parents the opportunity to help their teens grow and understand these kinds of sensitive issues," says Beth Yoke, executive director of the Young Adult Library Services Association, an offshoot of the American Library Association. "ALA's interpretation on any rating system for books is that it's censorship."
So ALA's YALSA calls it "censorship" to use book ratings to give people/schools the notice needed to make informed decisions as to what's best for their children. This from the organization that says keeping R-rated movies from children is censorship:
- "Keeping R-Rated Films from Children is Censorship, According to the ALA and the Fountaindale Public Library That Blindly Follows the ALA"
and that every single person who ever complains about any book is a "censor":
- "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"
- "The Parent Trap: ALA Uses Banned Books Week to Ridicule Patrons Complying with ALA Materials Reconsideration Policies"
And the ALA is the organization that intentionally fakes its annual Top 10 List of Challenged Books to inflate the handful of cases into a national tragedy and push political or social buttons to promote its own interests:
"Young Adult Fiction: Wild Things"
As you decide whom to believe, Dr. Sarah Coyne/BYU or Beth Yoke/ALA, please consider:
- "It's Not Censorship, It's Parenting! -- Best Explanation Ever for What's Wrong With the American Library Association and its Effect on Public School Libraries"
- "False Censorship Claims Exposed by WSJ Author Attacked for Exposing Truth About Young Adult Books; Meghan Cox Gurdon Decries Incomplete and Uninformative Book Reviews"
- "Young Adult Fiction: Wild Things," by Naomi Wolf, The New York Times, 12 March 2006
- "School Excoriates Book Reviews that Fail to Disclose 'Graphic Sexual Details' in Books for Children; Lush by Natasha Friend is 'Wildly Inappropriate' for Certain Children"
- "The Anything Goes ALA is Out of the Mainstream by Defending the Right of Children to Access Pornography in Public Libraries"
- "Will Manley Outs Library Profession as the Only One in the World That Wants Children to Have Access to Pornography; Annoyed Librarian Says Some Librarians Sound Like Smut Peddlars"
- "Some Teen Books Surprisingly X-Rated, Study Finds"—also involves Dr. Sarah Coyne
- "Student Decries School P-rn Pushing Policy and Calls for Book Ratings"
- "Most Oppose Explicit Books in Public Schools Says Harris Poll"
- "School Removes Squirting Sperm Book After 8-Year-Old Complains To Her Mother"—contains a large list of articles pertaining to schools and books
- "TheBookBuzz.org Provides Parent Ratings of Public School Books"
- "ALA's Anything Goes at Any Age Policy Criticized by University of Missouri Library Science Student"
- "GLSEN Gets It, the ALA Doesn't; ALA Challenged to Provide Notice of Potentially Inappropriate Material in its Book Lists and Awards"
- "Know the ALA"
The decision is yours. Is it time for book ratings? Comment below, if you wish.
NOTE ADDED 19 MAY 2012:
Below is the ALA's view on labeling and rating systems—basically, it is censorship. Keep in mind the ALA also said it was censorship to filter computers in public libraries. Its bluff was called on that in US v. ALA where the Court found it is not censorship.
- "Labeling and Rating Systems; An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights," by ALA Council, American Library Association, 15 July 2009.
NOTE ADDED 20 MAY 2012:
Thanks to an excellent comment below, I am reminded that book ratings are used successfully in many places without being falsely labeled as censorship. I have previous written about the case in St. Louis, so I'll link those posts now:
- "Big Win for St. Louis Citizens; Library Labels Books For Age Appropriateness After Citizen Protest"
- "Know Your Library"
See also these posts that illustrate how the ALA works to mislead people on book labeling to try to force its way on communities, such as St. Louis:
- "Who's Controlling County Libraries: Taxpayers or the ALA? New Teen Sections at County Libraries Stocked with Sexually Explicit Materials," by Dan Kleinman, St. Louis MetroVoice, 21 August 2008.
- "ALA Admits Media Manipulation - Endnote Hyperlinks Provided for St. Louis MetroVoice Cover Story by SafeLibraries"
- "Library Propaganda in Media Exposed - Reporter Presents One-Sided Story with No Balance and Sometimes No Truth"
- "Speaking With Jason Rich, Author of Growing Up Gay in America"
NOTE ADDED 25 MAY 2012:
Oh read this excellent post on the topic:
- "WARNING: On YA, Ratings, and 'Censorship,'" by Rachel Manwill, Book Riot, 25 May 2012.