Beware of "Banned Books Week"
Special Report - October 1, 2009
This weekSeptember 26-October 3the American Library Association (ALA) is promoting the 28th annual “Banned Books Week” at libraries nationwide. While the ALA describes the annual event as a time to celebrate and promote the “freedom to read,” the week-long event is really about defending the “right” of libraries to stock sexually explicit, profane and other controversial books, and the “rights” of adults and children to read these books. As part of its promotion of “Banned Books Week,” the ALA urges citizens, including children, to “read a banned book.”
In 2008, the ALA received over 500 reports from libraries about book challenges (defined as “a formal written complaint requesting that a book be removed from library shelves or a school curriculum”). Parents make the vast majority of complaints about books, according to the ALA. The most-challenged book in America in 2008 (as well as 2006 and 2007) was And Tango Makes Three, a pro-homosexual children’s book written by Dr. Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. The book is based on the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo, whowith the help of their zookeeperhatched an adopted egg and raised a baby penguin named, “Tango… the first penguin at the zoo to have two daddies.” The book has been challenged in several states, including North Carolina.
Focus on the Family is encouraging parents and other concerned citizens to use “Banned Books Week 2009” as an opportunity to test their local library’s commitment to promoting intellectual freedom by donating Christian books on social issues, such as abortion or homosexuality, and other materials that reflect strong family values. “Every year, the ALA and other liberal groups use this trumped-up event to intimidate and basically silence concerned parents,” said Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family Action. “The truth is, parents have every right and responsibility to object to their kids receiving sexually explicit and pro-gay literature without their permission, especially in a school setting.”
In addition to checking with your local library about their plans this week, be sure to check with the librarian at your child’s school to find out whether the library plans to promote “Banned Books Week.” You can also take this opportunity to investigate the types of materials stocked at your local library.
To learn more about the ALA and its efforts to promote intellectual freedom over parental rights, including here in North Carolina, read our November/December 2008 Family North Carolina article, “The ‘Right to Read: Should Intellectual Freedom Trump Parental Rights in Libraries?”
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.