Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Banned Books Week Hypocrisy Publicized


[ifforum] BBW Hypocrisy Publicized

RKent20551@cs.com Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 7:12 PM
To: ifforum@ala.org, lib@dos.state.fl.us
The Friends of Cuban Libraries
Sept. 29, 2008

Banned Book Week Hypocrisy Publicized

Newspapers are publicizing the American Library Association's sponsorship of Banned Books Week. Sadly, the general public and even some Banned Books Week co-sponsors are unaware of the ALA's alarming hypocrisy regarding censorship, book burning and library repression in Cuba.

In response to the ALA's complicity with censorship and repression in Cuba, the Friends of Cuban Libraries have launched an Anti-Hypocrisy Campaign to inform the public of the ALA's tragic failure to defend its most basic principle, freedom of expression.

In response to ALA publicity, the Friends of Cuban Libraries are sending responses to the "feedback" columns of newspapers innocently cheerleading the ALA's hypocritical sponsorship of Banned Books Week. As part of this Anti-Hypocrisy campaign, we have posted messages on the websites of several newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Florida Sun-Sentinel. As an example of our effort to publicize the ALA's scandalous violation of its most basic principle, copied below is a response to a pro-BBW article appearing today on the Chicago Tribune's website.

Chicago Tribune, Sept. 30, 2008:

"Citizens of Chicago are beginning to realize that the noble principles embodied in the ALA's Banned Books Week are being trampled into the mud by a militant faction which has seized control of key ALA offices.

"This faction is trying to ignore and cover up censorship, court-ordered book burning and persecution of librarians in Cuba. Renowned anti-censorship authorities such as Ray Bradbury, Nat Hentoff, Madeleine Albright and Anthony Lewis have spoken out on this issue at ALA conferences. Sadly, these appeals to principle have been ignored, thanks to the complacency of the well-meaning but ignorant majority on the ALA's governing Council who are oblivious to the takeover of the ALA by scheming extremists.

"For details on this emerging scandal, please refer to our organization's website at (http://www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org)"

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The ALA and Castration

What does the American Library Association [ALA] have to do with castration? Nothing.

But I see an unmistakable comparison between the rationalization of the ALA and that of the FX Networks in at least one respect. Let me show you the evidence, then figure this out for yourselves.

First, please read the following stories:
Next, please consider the following quotes from the above articles, emphasis added. First, the "Castration" article:
On Sept.17, viewers of the appropriately named new series "Sons of Anarchy" were "treated" to a graphic castration scene, complete with hacked-off genitals shown lying in a pool of blood.

Completely tasteless programming is in, and FX bathes in it. The mastermind of all that Rupert Murdoch-backed villainy is an executive named John Landgraf, who pronounces his philosophical approach thusly: "One of our writers used to say, 'Bad men do what good men can only dream about.' There is a sense that what these characters are doing is allowing us to explore, in a safe context, our id and subconscious, what we might do if there were no restraints of society or conscience on us."
In a nutshell, what we're hearing is FX executives who have a lot more sensitivity to the "vision" of a seriously twisted human being than they do to the prospect of a 10-year-old boy finding a terrifying castration scene as he's flipping channels in his home.

Now here are the quotes from the "Racy Reading" article:
The latest book to fan the flames is Paul Ruditis' "Rainbow Party," about an oral-sex party that never happens, in part because the teens who've been invited have major reservations. The book ... highlights the dangers of oral sex and sexually transmitted diseases, but has been criticized by some parents and conservative commentators.

"Rainbow Party" isn't exactly flying off the shelves -- because it isn't on most bookstore shelves. Barnes & Noble and Borders are selling the book on their Web sites only. And many libraries are passing on the book -- not for censorship reasons, but because it lacks literary merit, they say.
But books can provoke discussions, says Pam Spencer Holley of the American Library Association. Although she wouldn't hand a child a copy of "Rainbow Party" without comment, she thinks that book -- and others -- can provoke family discussions.

"I think I'd say, 'This is something we need to sit and talk about,' " says Holley. "It's a way for kids to experience something at a safe distance -- and a way for them to make up their minds about how they would respond in that kind of situation."

She's happy to see teen girls reading. Eventually, girls who are reading Gossip Girls will move on to better books, she says.

"Unless you read stuff that's perhaps not the most literary, you'll never understand what good works are," says Holley. "But when you get them hooked on reading, then you can lead them so many other places, as far as books go."

Besides, she says, what's the worst thing that can happen? "Nobody complains about the adult women who read Harlequin romances."

Does anyone see the similarities? Do I have to spell it out? Are these rationalizations for sexualizing children legitimate? Any comments?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

ALA Web Site Disaster - Hyperlinks No Longer Work; ALA's New Web Site Makes Many Former URLs Obsolete

The ALA has revamped its web site, and in the process, at least some former hyperlinks fail to work.  They are not being redirected to new URLs.  I have so many links to the ALA web site to support my findings, I just don't know what to do.  I'll bet everyone else is similarly affected.

Does anyone have any ideas about how to resolve this?  Like by convincing the ALA to set up redirects, or by using Archive.org, or by mass editing hyperlinks (hopefully not)?

For example,  the ALA's "Library Bill of Rights" used to be at:


and now it is at:


All you get now is this:

Page Not Found

The page you're looking for is unavailable at the web address you used.  The American Library Association has implemented a new site architecture and has reorganized all of the content on the site.

Here are some strategies to use to find the information you are seeking.

  • Try browsing to the page, using the navigation on the left side of the page.
  • Use the site search function (the search box is in the upper right quadrant of the page).  search bar graphic
  • Contact Karen Muller, the ALA Librarian, at library@ala.org for assistance.  She (or another member of the Library staff) will try to find the page, or connect you to the unit responsible for the page, usually within a business day.

Thank you for visiting ALA's new website!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Scholastic Tells ALA to Take a Hike; Drops Bratz Books from Catalog on Eve of ALA's Phoney "Banned Books Week"

"Scholastic, one of North America's biggest distributors of books to schools, has removed the Bratz line of books from its catalogue after parents complained the characters contributed to the sexualization of children." "Scholastic Drops Bratz Books," by CBC News, 20 September 2008. On the eve of the American Library Association's [ALA] phoney "Banned Books Week," Scholastic drops an entire line of books in response to concerns about the sexualization of children.

To me, the timing is no accident. This is Scholastic sending the ALA a message: "Take a hike, ALA. Keeping sexually inappropriate material from children is neither book banning nor censorship. Others may be intimidated by you, but we are not."

Also see:

"Scholastic Drops Bratz Books," by CBC News, 20 September 2008

Scholastic, one of North America's biggest distributors of books to schools, has removed the Bratz line of books from its catalogue after parents complained the characters contributed to the sexualization of children.

Bratz books are a spinoff from the line of female dolls, which are often clothed in miniskirts, bikinis, fishnet stockings and boas.

In a statement released Friday, Scholastic said its decision to remove the Bratz books did not stem from the parental campaign but instead claimed that its offerings "change all the time."

The company admitted it had been the target of a "couple of thousand" e-mails from concerned parents, following an initiative by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood in 2007.

Thousands of parents e-mailed Scholastic to complain that it was "marketing precocious sexuality to young girls in schools."

A report last year from the American Psychological Association said that "the objectified sexuality presented by these dolls … is limiting for adolescent girls and even more so for the very young girls who represent the market for these dolls."

"We're not interested in banning books," Susan Linn, psychiatry instructor at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood coalition, told the Guardian newspaper.

"What we think is that there should not be commercialism in schools and that when schools market a product to children it is particularly effective. First, because it's a captive market, and second, because it carries extra weight — even if children don't like school, they know it's meant to be good for them."

At the time Scholastic offered the books, the company had said the titles featured "strong, capable girl characters" and were aimed at children who didn't like to read.

MGA Entertainment, the company that makes the Bratz dolls, has previously said its line of dolls stand for "passion, self-expression and the importance of friendship."

Copyright CBC News 2008. Reprinted for Copyright Fair Use educational purposes.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lewis and Clark's Gay Adventure; Helena, MT, and the Homosexuality Red Herring

Many on both sides of an issue at the Lewis & Clark Library in Helena, MT, are taking a common library concern and exacerbating it by raising the red herring of homosexuality.  The library's collection contains "The Joy of Gay Sex."  Access to it by children is not restricted in any way, causing a controversy.  However, obvious overtones of homosexuality are causing people to lose focus on the underlying legitimate interest.  As the US Supreme Court put it in United States v. American Library Assocation, "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree."  Apparently, like "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," we are now on "Lewis & Clark's Gay Adventure," and US v. ALA is just a George Carlin joke.

Paul Cohen is the person who raised the matter about the book in the first place.  He realizes "this principle applies whether homosexual or heterosexual."  But many of his supporters, detractors, and those in the media are turning this issue into one about homosexuality.  Linked here are a number of media reports on this Helena, MT, library matter.

It is my opinion those who support his position are raising concerns about homosexuality out of a misunderstanding of the purposes of public libraries.  But those who oppose his position raise concerns about homosexuality knowing it is a red herring.

For example, in an analogous situation, parents in a public school in Howell, MI, complained about a book because it contained, among other things, bestiality.  The American Library Association [ALA] implied those parents were racist for opposing the book containing bestiality because the author is "black."  The public school, now chastised by the ALA for being racist, chose to keep the bestiality book available for students.  So much for local control.

And look at the title of that article: "Group Targets Black Authors' Books."  It is like the titles of stories now circulating, e.g., "Library Holds Hearing on Gay-Sex Book," Associated Press, 18 September 2008.  What a difference it would make if the titles were unbiased: "Group Targets Books Containing Bestiality"; "Library Holds Hearing on Book Deemed Inappropriate for Children."  I made this very observation evident to the Howell community, but the ALA is too intimidating, so it often gets away with bullying tactics, such as calling people racist.  

Do the people of Helena, MT, want to suffer the same fate?  Does the existence of some "anti-gay" people or an inartfully-framed argument mean children should continue to be exposed to inappropriate material despite the US Supreme Court, the law, and common sense?  There are perfectly reasonable and legal means to restrict children's access to inappropriate materials in public libraries.  If Paul Cohen did not make this case well enough, that does not mean nothing should be done.  Helena citizens should set aside library misinformation and biased media reports and editorials and take action accordingly.  (One editorial even promoted the ALA's "Banned Books Week," which Thomas Sowell calls "National Hogwash Week.")

I recommend people on all sides drop the issue of homosexuality since it is irrelevant to the matter of protecting children from material inappropriate for minors.  I realize those who support Paul Cohen will find this tough medicine to swallow, and those who oppose him will continue to use the homosexuality angle as the red herring it is.  After all, calling parents racists worked in keeping the children exposed to bestiality, so why not follow the ALA's lead and call people bigots?

By the way, Paul Cohen has created an excellent resource on this "Joy of Gay Sex" matter.  It is excellent because it contains the opinions of people on all sides of this issue.  See "Summary of the Public Hearing with Paul's Commentary."  A similar article presenting all sides of an issue that I had made available, "Ban the Bunnies," was used as course material in the #1 library and information science Ph.D. school in the USA.  Thank you, Paul Cohen, for making this useful resource available.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Windsor Public Library Claims Age Discrimination If Children Kept From Inappropriate Material, Thereby Misinforming its Community

Here is my Letter to the Editor submitted to the Windsor Journal in response to "Request to Remove Sex Education Book From Library Denied," by Jacqueline Bennett, The Windsor Journal, 18 September 2008.

Dear Editor:

Having read the recent article in the Windsor Journal about the Timothy Bergsma's concern regarding a library book, my overall impression is that what is missing is accurate information. When people make decisions, they should be informed decisions, not misinformed ones. Sadly, it appears the library has misinformed the citizens and the government of Windsor, CT.

The decision to refuse to remove the book was correct, but the decision to refuse to move it out of "Kidspace" is where the misinformation plays a role.

The prominent mention of the "Library Bill of Rights" and the recitation of "Article V" is presented without any balance whatsoever. Apparently, the library has led people to believe it would be "age" discrimination for a librarian to keep certain materials away from children. But this is misinformation for at least two reasons.

One, the library has not disclosed that in a case the American Library Association [ALA] lost in the US Supreme Court in 2003 entitled US v. ALA, the Court said, "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree." So why does the ALA continue to call it "age" discrimination, and why does the Windsor library misinform the public similarly? See http://tinyurl.com/us-v-ala for yourself.

Two, the library was created by some local law that set out its mission. I'll bet ALA policy is not a part of that mission. If the library claims it is "age" discrimination to keep children from any material, that follows ALA policy, but it likely falls outside your own public library law that created the library in the first place. In other words, the library may be acting outside the law. In such a case, the government has every right and duty to step in to ensure compliance with the law. "Bergsma said technically the town manager has the authority to modify library policy." He may be correct, at least where the library is acting outside the law.

And no letters from any "Intellectual Freedom Committee" or similarly misinformed decisions "made in other towns" should make a difference. Is it "intellectual freedom" to allow a child access to inappropriate material even in the face of common sense, local law, and US v. ALA?

Mayor Donald Trinks is reported as having said the library made the "right choices." He also said, "One person's pornography is another person's art." I infer from the article that the Mayor did not have a full opportunity to become informed about the issues at the time of the interview, so I credit the Mayor for speaking out as he did. However, he is incorrect.

First, claiming it is a violation of "constitutional rights" to move a book from one section of the library to another is wrong. Even the ALA admits that does not present a problem. Listen to the podcast at http://www.pio.ala.org/visibility/?p=141 to hear a major leader in the ALA say this herself.

Second, saying "one person's pornography is another person's art" is a way of saying anything goes. Ignore what US v. ALA said about children and inappropriate material. Ignore what local law says is the purpose of the local library. Ignore common sense. Anything goes. Besides, the issue is not pornography. As US v. ALA illustrates, the issue is "material inappropriate for minors," which is significantly different.

I certainly hope the citizens and especially the government get educated in a balanced fashion. Where the library is the sole source of that information, the news story reveals that would be an exercise in misinformation.

"Jepsen said he has confidence in the judgment of the library professionals." Really? Citizens should read US v. ALA. Listen to that ALA podcast I linked. Get out the local law that created the library and read it carefully. Get educated so library misinformation is easier to see.

Windsor children may be protected from inappropriate materials in a legal manner, but for the clouds of misinformation about "age" discrimination presented by the library in reliance on ALA policy.


by Jacqueline Bennett, The Windsor Journal, 18 September 2008
(reprinted under the Fair Use provision of the US Copyright Act):

A resident's requests to have a children's sex education book removed from the Main Library or relocated to a different section have been denied. The matter was part of an annual report from the Windsor Library Advisory Board to the Town Council on Sept. 15 at town hall. According to library board chairman Michael Raphael, over the last year one resident - Timothy Bergsma, of 24 Michelle Lane - made three separate requests to the board in regard to the same book. Initially, Bergsma asked the former library director Laura Kahkonen, who retired this summer, to remove the book. Citing library policy, she refused. Then Bergsma went to the library board that backed Kahkonen and voted unanimously to uphold the Library Development Collection Policy.

Adopted by the library board in 2007, the policy states: "while the library is aware that one or more persons may take issue with the selection of any items, the library does not have to remove from the shelves items purchased in accordance with the policy outlined here." The policy goes on to say that the purpose of the materials collection at the Main Library is to "make available materials for educational, informational and recreational needs of the community."

In addition, it states that the library subscribes to the Library Bill of Rights, which as interpreted by the American Library Association (ALA), essentially protects the intellectual freedom of minors. The ALA's interpretation states: "Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal access to all library resources and services to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights." Article V of the Library Bill of Rights reads: "A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background or views."

Raphael said the library board's response to the resident's requests is consistent with responses to similar complaints made in other towns. A letter of support was received by the board from Peter Chase of the Intellectual Freedom Committee, he noted.

Subsequent to the original request, says Gaye Rizzo, the Main Library's new director, Bergsma filled out a reconsideration form and brought two more requests directly to the board, both of which were denied on the basis of present library policy. The second request was that the book be moved to the young adults section and a third request asked that the book be moved to the parents section

According to Rizzo, the title of the book in question is "Sex, Puberty and All That Stuff."

In a phone interview Tuesday, Bergsma said "I was browsing through the children's section. I wasn't looking for trouble."

A Roman Catholic father of five children ranging in age from infant to 12, Bergsma said the family moved to Windsor in 2005. Two of his school-age children are home schooled while two others attend a parochial school. He said when he lived in Waterford he wrote a letter objecting to material at the Groton Public Library but did not pursue it because that was not his town library.

Bergsma said he wants other materials removed from the Main Library in Windsor but thus far has only made formal requests regarding the book. He contends the book goes beyond education and "advocates" behavior that he finds objectionable, as being acceptable or "normal," including masturbation, group masturbation, homosexual relationships, petting, oral sex, abortion and contraceptive use

"These viewpoints are being advocated to our youngest patrons," he said

Bergsma said the book is located in an area called "Kidspace." He believes that presenting these behaviors to children as being widely accepted promotes a further "degeneration of our sexual mores."

Although the library board denied his requests, members did ask library staff to look for additional materials to add to the collection that would represent a variety of viewpoints and to ask Bergsma for suggestions. The staff has followed through and, according to Bergsma, was even able to find more materials than he could. Nonetheless, he said he is not satisfied with adding materials as a solution.

Bergsma said he has also asked the library board to allow an exchange between the public and the members at their meetings so his questions can be answered directly. Currently, library board agendas allow for public comment but if a matter is not on the agenda it is not discussed by the board

The library board does not have a set meeting schedule, rather it meets quarterly at the call of special meetings. Its next meeting will likely be in October and Bergsma said he plans to attend. If the board does not arrange for a direct discussion between the public and the board, Bergsma said he plans to next approach Town Manager Peter Souza. Bergsma said technically the town manager has the authority to modify library policy.

If he feels it is necessary to go to Souza and does not get what he considers to be a satisfactory response, Bergsma said he plans then to bring his issues before the town council, which appoints members of the library board. He said he believes the board should be comprised of a membership more representative of all of Windsor . "The 9-0 votes I've been getting on these requests show the library board does not represent the whole town," he said

Mayor Donald Trinks, a Democrat, and Republican Councilor Donald Jepsen each said this week they are not familiar with the book.

Based on the information he does have, Trinks said, constitutional rights may be involved and that thus far library staff and board members have made the "right choices" following the process that is in place

"This was the first I had heard of it. It does bring up certain interest about constitutional rights, the town's obligation to disseminate all information and a parent's right not to have a child exposed to it," said the mayor.

Trinks added that parents have a responsibility to monitor what their children read at a public library just as they would monitor what their children watch on television.

Trinks and Jepsen agreed that passing judgement on the book is subjective. "One person's pornography is another person's art," said Trinks.

Jepsen said he has confidence in the judgment of the library professionals. "Everyone's threshold for what they find acceptable is different. It's the old question - 'what is pornography?' I don't know, but I'll know if I see it," said Jepsen.

As for a possible request to remove current library board members in regard to this situation, Jepsen said, "That is extreme."

©Windsor Journal 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

West Virginia Filters Libraries Statewide Using Federal CIPA Legislation - Sets Example that No Statewide CIPA Legislation Needed

West Virginia filters all public library computers statewide at the state level!  It does this using only the federal CIPA legislation.  This sets a national example of how libraries in other states could be filtered without the need for statewide CIPA legislation, if only the library associations did not oppose the public.

The filters work well, but the bad guys are constantly trying to bypass the filters, so West Virginia includes several means to deter criminal activity.  I love this one: "Shame is one of the best filters there is."  Indeed, according to US v. ALA, "the Constitution does not guarantee the right to acquire information at a public library without any risk of embarrassment."

Another terrific aspect of this story is that library staff identified and reported the criminal activity to the police--a rapist was viewing child p0rnography.  This is especially outstanding since the American Library Association [ALA] policy is to the contrary:  "As for obscenity and child p0rnography, prosecutors and police have adequate tools to enforce criminal laws. Libraries are not a component of law enforcement efforts...."  Well, ALA, apparently they are in Ohio and West Virginia.  I hereby nominate the Martins Ferry Public Library and the West Virginia Library Commission for Family Friendly Libraries Awards of Recognition.

Here is the media report upon which I base my statements.  It tells the truth that the ALA would not want you to know, so read it carefully.  I include it under the Fair Use provision of the US Copyright Act:

"Libraries Target Net P0rn; West Virginia Libraries Have Filters at State Level," by Gabe Wells, The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register, 17 September 2008, emphasis mine.

WHEELING - An accused rapist allegedly caught viewing child p0rnography at the Martins Ferry Public Library probably couldn't have done so in a West Virginia library.

Quentin N. Phillips was held Tuesday in the Belmont County Jail following his arrest Saturday on charges of rape and pandering sexually oriented matter involving a child. Phillips allegedly confessed to having sexual intercourse with a young boy "continuously for several years" after being taken into custody Saturday at the Martins Ferry library.

A librarian saw the 32-year-old Martins Ferry resident looking at the p0rnography and called police.

West Virginia Library Commission Executive Secretary J.D. Wagoner said his agency pays for the filtering of computers in all public libraries in the Mountain State. The filtering is done by the West Virginia Office of Technology, and Wagoner said it involves both site and key word filtering.

Ohio County Public Library Director Dottie Thomas said West Virginia libraries benefit from the filtering being done on the state level.

"It is very nice because we don't have to worry about installing filters on the computers," Thomas said.

Wagoner said the filters are effective. He noted, however, that those posting p0rnography work consistently to bypass those filters. He said people posting p0rnography have additional resources as well.

"Those who host p0rn sites have more money to invest in getting their content to people than we have to stop them," Wagoner said. "It is a constant security issue."

In addition to filters, Wagoner said there are additional steps that can be taken to prevent p0rnography from being downloaded on library computers. He said the computers should be placed where they can be seen clearly by library patrons and staff.

"Shame is one of the best filters there is," Wagoner said.

Martins Ferry Public Library Director Yvonne Myers said those using the Internet there must sign an agreement to not view inappropriate material. She said people who violate that agreement are either suspended or banned from the library. Myers said Phillips was coming to the Martins Ferry library almost daily.

"We are not an adult book store, we are a public library," Myers said. "They (staff members) suspected he was looking, but you hope your worst fears aren't true. We don't like to spy as a rule, but it's in a public area so you can't help but see what people are looking at."

Myers said she also wonders if Phillips was hoping to be caught.

"I don't know when it's so blatant," she said. "We do wonder. We didn't hesitate at all when (the librarian) saw what he was doing."

Police reportedly recovered a "flash drive," or portable computer memory device, from Phillips and found 173 photos and videos of naked children stored on it.

Some of those pictures showed children engaged in sex acts with each other and with adults. Several other photos were of children being sexually assaulted by adults, according to the city police report.

Martins Ferry Police Chief Barry Carpenter said Phillips is a former Michigan resident, but Carpenter does not know how long Phillips has lived in Martins Ferry. The chief said investigators do not believe Phillips has a criminal history.

A representative of Belmont County Children's Services was called along with police to execute a search warrant at Phillips' 1825 Hill St. home. Officers recovered a flash drive, a digital camera, a disposable camera, a camcorder videos and nude photos there.

Carpenter credited the staff of the Martins Ferry Public Library for contacting police. He said the situation is disturbing.

Fact Box


In U.S. v. American Library Association, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that a law passed by Congress could protect children from p0rnography on library computers without violating free speech.

"Because public libraries have traditionally excluded p0rnographic material from their other collections, Congress could reasonably impose a parallel limitation on its Internet assistance programs," Justice William Rehnquist wrote.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thomas Sowell on Banned Books Week - BBW is "Shameless Propaganda ... Now Institutionalized With a Week of Its Own"

Thomas Sowell wrote about the American Library Association's "Banned Books Week" calling it "National Hogwash Week." As the media rebroadcast ALA propaganda uncritically, let us remember "Banned Books Week" is total propaganda. No book has been banned in the USA for many decades; what with the Internet, it is nearly impossible now. See "Hogwash is Happening," by Thomas Sowell, Washington Times, 3 October 1994.
Even a former ALA Councilor said, emphasis mine:
It also highlights the thing we know about Banned Books Week that we don't talk about much--the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all.
Here are choice quotes from Thomas Sowell, emphasis mine:
  • "The kind of shameless propaganda that has become commonplace in false charges of 'censorship' or 'book banning' has apparently now been institutionalized with a week of its own."
  • "False charges of banning or censorship are so common that they are seldom challenged for evidence or even for a definition."
  • "To call a book 'banned' because someone decided that it was unsuitable for their particular students or clientele would be to make at least 99 percent of all books 'banned.'"
  • "If the criterion of censorship is that the objection comes from the general public, rather than from people who run schools and libraries, then that is saying the parents and taxpayers have no right to a say about what is done with their own children or their own money."
  • "[O]ther books in the display were pure propaganda for avante-garde notions that are being foisted onto vulnerable and unsuspecting children in the name of 'education.'"
  • "No one calls it censorship if the collected works of Rush Limbaugh are not put into libraries and schools in every town, hamlet and middlesex village. It is only when the books approved by the elite intelligentsia are objected to by others that is it called censorship. Apparently we are not to talk back to our betters."
  • "Those who are spreading hysteria about book banning and censorship know that they are in a war, but too many of those who thoughtlessly repeat their rhetoric do not."
See also:
    The ALA response to parental complaints was the creation a few years ago of a national event they call "Banned Books Week" in which outrageous charges are made about parents supposedly attempting to ban classics like "Huckleberry Finn" and "Of Mice and Men." It's an ingenious tactic considering the ALA seems intent on phasing out the classics. However, parent researchers and bloggers have found many of these allegations to be false or grossly exaggerated; for example, the ALA counts as censorship incidents in which a parent simply requests that the school or library be more age selective when assigning books or amend a teacher's mandatory reading list to include other books not so offensive.
        For making the modest demand that schools not flood their children's minds with filth until, for example, the 8th grade, the ALA, PTA, various state Department of Educations and some loony anti-Christian groups have responded by publishing outlandish strategy manuals on how to deal with "extremists," the code word for any parent with a religious-based value system.
            But the ALA will not compromise on such common-sense requests by parents. Banned Books Week was clearly designed by the ALA to direct attention away from the onslaught of violent, obscene literature in America’s schools. And it’s not just books; it's the Internet as well. When I co-sponsored a bill to have filters placed on library computers so as to block pornographic and racist web sites, the ALA went ballistic. They flew in their big guns and in front of a hearing room full of shocked parents, argued that "the First Amendment is more important than parental concerns about content" and made clear they were totally against any effort to block content of any kind from children no matter what age. Indeed, the ALA web site arrogantly states, "Librarians do not serve in loco parentis."
                The idea that our Founding Fathers wrote the First Amendment to allow children to view obscene literature is preposterous but the ALA is on a crusade to persuade all libraries to treat children as adults. It’s a bizarre crusade, because, legally and morally, school children are minors and school boards and librarians have been entrusted by parents to protect them from such literature. Indeed, when a library Internet filter bill was introduced in Congress, the ALA went all out to fight it. It passed but ended up in the courts where again, the ALA spent a fortune fighting it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. They lost. Thank God.
                • "Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week," by Judith Krug, Creator of Banned Books WeekCurriculum Review, 46:1 September 2006, emphasis mine:
                  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.
                • "American Library Association Shamed," by Nat Hentoff, Laurel-Leader Call, 2 March 2007.
                So bizarre is the ALA leadership, along with a cadre of Castro admirers on the Governing Council — in its abandonment of their fellow librarians — it refuses to post on its “Book Burning in the 21st Century” Web site the extensive, documented court transcripts of the “trials” that sent the librarians to prison. Those judges ordered the “incineration” of the prisoners’ libraries, including works by Martin Luther King Jr. and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”
                A key ALA official, Judith Krug, heads its office of Intellectual Freedom. In my many years of reporting on the ALA’s sterling record of protecting American librarians from censorship, I often quoted her in admiration. But now, she said at an ALA meeting about supporters of the caged librarians, “I’ve dug in my heels ... I refuse to be governed by people with an agenda.” The Cuba issue, she continued, “wouldn’t die,” though she’d like to “drown it.”
                Kleinman accuses the ALA of hyperbole in celebrating Banned Books Week. "The whole purpose of Banned Books Week is to provide this kind of misinformation," he said. "The ALA misleads people into thinking that if you keep an inappropriate book from a child that is considered censorship. It is not."
                In the common-law tradition, censorship refers specifically to the government's prior restraint on publication. None of the sponsors claim this has happened; the acts they have in mind are perpetrated by private citizens. Yet the cases on the map almost all involve ordinary people lodging complaints with school and library authorities. Before Banned Books Week began in 1982, such behavior was known as petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.
                There's something odd about a national organization with a $54 million budget and 67,000 members reacting so zealously against a few unorganized, law-abiding parents whose efforts, by any sensible standard, are hopelessly ineffective. The ALA's members have immeasurably more power than the "censors" they denounce to decide what books are available in our communities, but this power is so familiar it's invisible. Why do parents' public petitions constitute censorship, while librarians' hidden verdicts do not? A spokesman for the ALA once tackled this question in the Boston Globe: "The selection criteria that librarians use may not always be what everybody wants. I don't see that it's a real problem." Move along, folks, nothing to see here.
                • "Chicago Tribune's Julia Keller Endorses ALA's Banned Books Week," by Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute, 28 September 2009.
                • "Celebrate 'Banned' Books Week!," by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 30 September 2009, emphasis added:
                The ALA's definition of censorship has no relationship whatsoever to what everyone else in the entire world understands by the word.  It's incoherent and self-serving.
                Calls from Foxnews.com to Caldwell-Stone were directed to American Library Association Media Relations Manager Macey Morales, who asked for more information about PFOX's allegations and then failed to return follow-up e-mails and phone calls.
                The American Library Association refused to do anything about the book banning. This is actually predictable behavior for them – they are a left-wing advocacy group.
                A few weeks ago, the American Library Association announced with much fanfare that it was celebrating the ridiculous event called "Banned Books Week." This announcement accused Americans of being "zealots and bigots who live in fear of discourse" and of being "screamers and book banners and book burners." This Association arranged events and set up displays at libraries all over the country to pretend we have a problem with censorship.
                It's always been clear to me that the ALA OIF likes to dress up book challenges as "censorship" to draw attention to themselves and to pretend there is some sort of threat to "intellectual freedom" in the intellectually freest country in the world. It's hard to get worked up about some book challenge when the book is freely available in libraries and bookstores all over the country. But when it's censorship, then by God we're going to get upset by it! 
                Banned books are a sign of an oppressive regime. That said, forcing age-inappropriate reading materials on youngsters not ready to deal with the material -- and doing so just for the sake of a bigger principle -- is just as oppressive. Enter the American Library Association. .... Can't we trust the ALA to look out for the kids? The short answer is a resounding "no." .... Unless you are willing to sacrifice your child at the altar of political correctness, it may be wise to question the age-appropriateness of some books.
                Banned Book Week is a farce and an insult to the intelligence and goodwill of the taxpayers who pay for local public libraries and staff salaries.  Neither the American Library Association [ALA] nor the local community library is a "governmental" agency.  It is the taxpayers who own their community library and should have the freedom to determine the policies that regulate this community service institution.  The ALA, a private, non-governmental group of associated librarians, has incrementally usurped the freedoms of clients - especially parents - to determine which books should be selected for their library shelves.

                If anyone bans books, it is the radical American Library Association, which has run rough shod over our libraries for too many years and now solely determines which books are or are NOT ordered for display.

                It has been proven that books that have been banned from library shelves are those that the ALA "selection process" does not allow.
                Although I’ve written a lot about "banned" books, my primary objections to OIF shenanigans can be condensed to two.

                1) By its own extremist logic, the OIF is incapable of arguing against making hard core pornography or excessively violent books or films available for young children. Everything is merely "information," and everyone regardless of age somehow has a right to all that information. In the case of Internet pornography, they apparently have a duty to view the information if they happen to be passing by. Not only can they offer no argument against it, but if any concerned parents ask that such material be removed from the children's section of a library, the OIF condemns them as censors.

                Despite the high-minded rhetoric, practical instances of challenges almost always involve what is appropriate or inappropriate for children. Any group that is incapable of nuanced ethical argument distinguishing the needs of children from adults deserves not only to be ignored, but morally condemned.

                2) The OIF uses deceptive language in their claims about "censorship." I expect such dissembling rhetoric from politicians, but I prefer not to have it from my professional association. A library removing or not buying a book isn't government censorship. Government censorship is very clear when it happens – just look to China or North Korea – but it is extremely rare in the United States. The OIF changes the meaning of "censorship" because it's a strong word, and it makes their crusade against almost non-existent government censorship sound stronger.

                Government censorship prevents the publication of information. Period. That's what it means, and everyone but the ALA knows it. If a book were really censored, a library wouldn't be able to buy it in the first place, much less remove it. Recently, the Pentagon bought all 10,000 copies of the first edition of a spy memoir and destroyed them, claiming that they contained information that could be damaging to national security. This is the best attempt at government censorship I've seen in the United States since the Nixon era. Had they not bungled the affair by clearing the book and then later un-clearing it, it would be tempting to give the Pentagon the benefit of the doubt, because there are secrets of national security that protect American lives. It would still be censorship, but sometimes censorship is justified, and the right to free speech isn't absolute. If the OIF really knew anything about the First Amendment, they would know this.

                Because of these two flaws in OIF thinking, it's difficult to take them seriously. By using such extremist logic and sloppy language, they manage to turn what should be a serious debate about intellectual freedom and tolerance into a farce. A defense of intellectual freedom is admirable, but it can be defended without resort to irrational extremism or deceptive language.
                • "ALA's Ironic 'Banned Books Week,'" by Laurie Higgins, Illinois Family Institute, 19 October 2010:
                In a 1995 interview with Beverly Goldberg, the highly respected Judith F. Krug, decades-long president of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, had this to say about the importance of intellectual diversity in library book collections:

                We have to serve the information needs of all the community and for so long "the community" that we served was the visible community.... And so, if we didn't see those people, then we didn't have to include them in our service arena. The truth is, we do have to.
                We never served the gay community.  Now, we didn't serve the gay community because there weren't materials to serve them.  You can't buy materials if they're not there.  But part of our responsibility is to identify what we need and then to begin to ask for it.  Another thing we have to be real careful about is that even though the materials that come out initially aren't wonderful, it's still incumbent upon us to have that voice represented in the collection.  This was exactly what happened in the early days of the women's movement, and as the black community became more visible and began to demand more materials that fulfilled their particular information needs.  We can't sit back and say, "Well, they're not the high-quality materials I'm used to buying."  They're probably not, but if they are the only thing available, then I believe we have to get them into the library. [emphasis added]

                According to Krug, intellectual diversity is of such paramount importance that it trumps even quality of material.  And if resources are scarce, Krug believes it is the obligation of librarians to ask for them.

                In light of Krug's comments, consider the topic on which libraries have virtually no books. Community and public high school libraries carry dozens of books, both fiction and non-fiction, on the topic of homosexuality and "transgenderism," almost every one of which espouses or embodies liberal assumptions about the nature and morality of homosexuality.  There can be found nary a one that espouses or embodies conservative assumptions about homosexuality.
                  To its credit, the OIF, in a letter to the school board, didn’t actually call the move “censorship,” but I’m sure someone there was thinking it. Instead, there’s a string of dubious arguments and an insistence that the real problem was that the board didn’t follow the written procedures for removing a book from the reading list.
                    That last argument basically boils down to “librarians know better than you,” so it’s probably not going to persuade the school board.
                      They’re probably also not going to be persuaded by this one: “We strongly encourage you to follow the guidance provided by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has held that public school officials may not remove books from school library shelves simply because of their disagreement with the views or ideas expressed in the books.”
                        Unless a “reading list” is the same thing as “library shelves,” that entire paragraph doesn’t make any sense in context. Probably a form letter.
                        The hypocrisy is breathtaking.  Just as school reconvenes, here comes "Banned Books Week," Sept. 21 to 27, the contrived observance by the far-left American Library Association which has the essential theme that nothing, nothing in media, hurts children, unless it's a book critical of homosexuality, abortion or upholding the truth of Scripture. Or possibly advocating the right of Israel to defend itself. 
                        Otherwise, any image, idea or scenario produced by adults motivated by perversion/greed/notoriety/atheism/anarchism should be available to inquiring young minds, because there's never an ill effect on children.  This is an odd position that would seem to nullify the value of books in general.  But then there's also the strong possibility that perversion/atheism, etc. are qualities some adults want children to develop.
                        CHICAGO — A far cry from the stereotypical homely, conservative librarian many of us remember from childhood, the American Library Association of today is behaving more and more like the corner drug dealer or child predator — “Psst…hey kid, I’ve got something for you…”
                        The general gist of the criticism is that while librarians talk a good game about intellectual freedom and are against “censorship” and “banning books,” in fact their entire collection development process effectively bans books that librarians disagree with politically.
                        Libraries use Collection Development Policies (CDP’s) to determine which books they will purchase with their limited budgets. CDP’s hold that librarians should purchase only books that have been positively reviewed by two “professionally recognized” review journals. Guess what folks, the “professionally recognized” review journals are dominated by ideological “progressives.”
                        That’s pretty hard to argue with, because she’s right and we all know it. It doesn’t even mention that a lot of times it’s other librarians reviewing the books anyway, thus guaranteeing that the choices will be kept within the profession and that books librarians don’t like won’t be reviewed and thus won’t be purchased.
                        Now admittedly, not all librarians are loony leftists.  In fact, some are speaking out here and there against the fascist, anti-knowledge approach of BBW.  They admit the goal is all about exaggeration and intimidation.  In other words, "Banned Books Week" is essentially a pro-bullying strategy, with parents, the community, even thoughtful teachers the victims.

                            .... Every right-thinking person agreed: This was an outrage. 
                            .... But in feeding off of conflicts like Sims vs. the school board, Banned Books Week also traffics in fear-mongering over censorship, when in fact the truth is much sunnier: There is basically no such thing as a "banned book" in the United States in 2015. 
                            The statistics certainly sound alarming. Since Banned Books Week was instituted in 1982, the event’s website informs us, 11,300 books have been challenged. In 2014 alone, 311 books were banned or challenged in schools and libraries in the United States, with many more cases unreported. It would be easy to assume that the literal banning of books is still a routine occurrence in the United States. 
                            But take a closer look, and there's much less for freedom-loving readers to be concerned with. The modifier "banned or challenged" contains a lot of wiggle room, for one. A "challenge," in the ALA's definition, is a "formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness." By that definition, Sims' one-woman freak-out in Tennessee qualifies as a "challenge," despite the fact that it posed no real threat to Skloot's book, let alone the "freedom to read."

                            Much of the rhetoric around Banned Books Week elides not just the difference between the past and the present but some other important distinctions: the difference between "bans" from public libraries and from school libraries, and between inclusion in school curricula and general availability in a library. A parent merely questioning the presence of a book on a required reading list is the same, to the organizations that run Banned Books Week, as the book being removed from circulation at the local public library. But the former, I would argue, is part of a reasonable local conversation about public education (even if the particular parental preferences are unreasonable). The latter comes closer to a "book ban." 
                            Some, or even all, of these challenges may be misguided, silly, or narrow-minded. But even if you're firmly opposed to "banning books"—and I am!—it's hard to argue that parents should have no right to weigh in on what their children read at school. There's an enormous difference between parents saying a book shouldn't appear on their kid's required reading list and a citizen demanding that adults should have no access to a book at a public library. And it should shock no one that in a country of 300 million people, there are a few hundred cases each year in which someone objects to a particular book’s availability, especially to children.
                            This Banned Books Week, instead of hand-wringing about a nonexistent wave of censorship, let's celebrate the obvious: The books won.
                            Upon closer inspection, and a little bit of Googling, it turns out many of these banned books were merely "challenged" — which means one or two ignorant and/or censorious parents filed a complaint with their local school or library about some innocent tome. 
                            Claiming a book has been banned, or willfully misunderstanding the difference between a challenge and a ban, is no doubt good for business in a world that despises censorship. It certainly worked on this book buyer. 
                            But if you indulge in that sort of thing, not only are you making yourself less trustworthy (sorry, local bookstore), you're also flooding the market with fake stories — and reducing the amount of attention paid to real book censorship problems when they come along. 
                            So, nutty overprotective mom doesn't understand basic medicine. Big whoop. The challenge went nowhere — except the websites of the BBC, Salon, the Guardian, and dozens of other outlets. Skloot let her indignation be known on her Facebook page, and no doubt sold a few extra books. Imagine the furor if the Knoxville school district had actually agreed with the mom. 
                            As a Salon columnist noted, books simply aren't banned in the U.S. any more, calling the whole basis of Banned Books Week into question. (The most recent ban in any U.S. school, according to the ALA's own material, was in 1994.) 
                            Or rather, it begs this question: Why aren't we paying this much attention to parts of the world, including free-speech-friendly countries, where forms of book censorship are still in effect? Why aren't we paying this much attention to parts of the world, including free-speech-friendly countries, where forms of book censorship are still in effect? Why wasn't it news around the world when a book was burned by religious extremists in India, and the intimidated author gave up writing and asked his publishers for the book to be withdrawn? 
                            But we can't begin to discuss the real problems of censorship if our awareness is dulled by a focus on cranks who think they see a nipple in Where's Waldo. That's what got the famous kids' book briefly banned from a few pubic [sic, unless intended] schools in Michigan and one in New York in 1989 and 1993, respectively. 
                            I'm not trying to minimize the dangers of cranks, or say that there's no chance the overzealous and prudish could see their way clear to banning a book in the future. But by and large, those days are over. America, a few ill-informed attention-seeking parents notwithstanding, has learned its lesson. Let's stop fighting old battles, because there's a new global frontier where we could effect some change. 
                            In the war against book banning, it's high time we turned the page.
                            As we wrap up 2015’s Banned Book Week (September 27 – October 3), Ruth Graham at Slate rightly takes the American Library Association (ALA) to task for trafficking “in fear-mongering over censorship, when in fact the truth is much sunnier: There is basically no such thing as a ‘banned book’ in the United States in 2015.”
                            That’s true, but Graham understates the problem with the ALA’s campaign of disinformation. 
                            She points out that to maintain the semblance of relevance in an era of ever-freer access to books of all kinds, the ALA has begun to conflate the categories of banned books and challenged books. “The modifier ‘banned or challenged’ contains a lot of wiggle room,” says Graham. 
                            The ALA presents itself as championing freedom, but what the organization is really doing is waging a campaign of “fear-mongering over censorship” to make us feel grateful to them as guardians of our rights, when they are, in fact, the guardians of tax-funded librarians. 

                            This week is Banned Books Week, and in libraries all over the country, librarians are making displays of books on fire to illustrate the great danger we all face of Amazon setting its warehouse aflame, or something. Not really. There is no possible way for any book to be censored by any stretch of the imagination. Books are not censored. Period. Should one school library remove a book from its shelves because of parental concern or otherwise, that book is still readily available, well, everywhere. 
                            Libraries themselves take part in the censorship of books, except they say they "select" them. This is the process where they choose which books to make available to the public and which books to throw in the trash. It’s a joke of colossal proportion that librarians don’t censor. Here is a discussion I found on the American Library Association (ALA) Think Tank’s Facebook page during Banned Books Week, addressing this very issue.

                            Notice the calls for these books about controversial topics to be thrown in the dumpster. These are the same people who wax sanctimonious about all the bad parents out there who want to "ban" books because they complained about violent sexual content in a reading assignment (a growing problem in public schools). This is a far cry from "banning" a book which would make it unavailable to the general public. A complaint is not a "ban." 
                            Modern librarians put themselves on pedestals, claiming to be champions of intellectual freedom and the First Amendment. They make no judgements (they claim) and fight against parents who would prefer that some judgements be made about the content that is given to their kids. 
                            In case you think it's extreme to suggest that librarians are fighting against parents, consider this. Titled Censorship and Intellectual Freedom, ALA acolyte and assistant director of the Office of Intellectual Freedom Kristin Pekoll laments the involvement of parents in book selection, among a litany of other complaints (because only librarians are allowed to throw books in the dumpster). 
                            Do I stand strong against the onslaught of vocal parents demanding cleaner libraries? 
                            If there was ever any doubt that ALA was concerned with the welfare of children, this should end that debate. The ALA prides itself on encouraging librarians to stand against parents, to put books that are rife with sexual violence, drugs, alcohol, abortion and other adult topics into the hands of your children without your permission or consent. 
                            Here is my favorite find on the ALA's website. This infographic shows you exactly what they are actively pushing on your kids during Banned Books Week.

                            Don't be fooled by Banned Books Week; it's just more trumped-up fakery to push cultural rot on your kids.
                            Banned Books Week, the American Library Association's annual self-advertisement, has now ended for this year. Bookstores will disassemble their earnest displays of "banned books," public libraries will return to the semblance of normality in public libraries. And we will be left with the sobering thought that, in 21st-century America, there remain people who would ban the works of Harper Lee or J.D. Salinger or Judy Blume, to give some favorite examples.  
                            Except that this year, I'm happy to report, a tiny crack appeared in the ALA's great Banned Books Week edifice. Slate, a publication not known for its skepticism toward liberal pieties, ran an essay with the intoxicating title "Banned Books Week Is a Crock." I was, and remain, astonished, and yet encouraged, that it should have been published—and not banned!—by the right-thinking editors at Slate.  
                            Yet what intrigues me about Banned Books Week publicity, and the likely political agenda over at ALA headquarters, is not what it features but what it excludes. For there is, in fact, an ongoing effort to ban books in America in 2015—that is, to exclude them from classroom reading lists, if not prevent their publication and sale – but it is taking place not on school boards in our nation's rural communities but on college campuses in some of the most progressive and sophisticated communities in the United States. At Columbia University in Manhattan, for example, Ovid's Metamorpheses has been excluded from the syllabus because of objections about sexual violence and replaced with—irony alert!—Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. Rutgers is considering the attachment of required "trigger warnings" for The Great Gatsby and Huckleberry Finn, and based on individual complaints, innumerable other colleges and universities are pondering the future of such works as Mrs. Dalloway or The Merchant of Venice on student reading lists. 
                            Those bannings, while rare, did happen.  These days though, there aren't books being banned in America.  Those saying otherwise are repeating comforting lies.  Leftists, led by the weirdly extremist American Library Association, tell themselves these things so they can feel superior to others. 
                            The lack of a banned book problem is so striking though, Dan Kleinman points out that press outlets are starting to notice, who otherwise would just parrot the "banned and challenged books line."  That's the trick wording: The American Library Association is trying to get you to equate 'banned books' (which are a thing that mostly happens in the Islamic world) with 'challenged books.'