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Old 10-13-2013, 07:21 PM View Post #31 (Link)
tatygirl90 (Offline)
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I don't really liking banning books because which books get banned are up to certain people and their tastes and I deeply dislike that.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:47 PM View Post #32 (Link)
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We had a fashion book taken out of my secondary school library because it had naked models in it. We'd all see if it was still there every time we entered the library.

Exciting times.
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:37 AM View Post #33 (Link)
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no, I don't think that any books should be banned and if there are some that are over the top then maybe only allow the older students to read them.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:27 AM View Post #34 (Link) Well,
mcdavey (Offline)
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Banning of books is one of the ways in which man tries to escape the truth...
A wise man once said that books termed offensive, are simply books that exposes the rotteness of humanity... Indeed he was right, but man has been running away from the truth for as long as I can remember; This is why we wear clothes, and do a lot of things termed 'civil'. It is tradition for man to hide the truth even from himself, so altering that tradition now is not a very good idea.

It is justified when these offensive books are not used in school... You can read them at home if you wish; but the school is a civil institution which must be kept civil - It might not be right, but it is the tradition of humanity.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:39 AM View Post #35 (Link)
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I completely agree with Dave in every way.
And here's my view on this. All of us have freedom to read whatever we want, because it may fit our type of opinions on things, so does that mean we should ban the books from schools? Well like Dave said, it would only be the civil thing to do in a culture who would take offense to anything that goes in the oppisite direction of beliefs.
And if I may add one more thing about books, we are constantly feeling pressured to read what the world reads, and if we don't do this then we are looked upon as crime commiters. Never be afraid to read what you want and use decernment when choosing a book because wether we like it or not we are constantly influenced in some type of way and it immediatly changes our lifes.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:16 PM View Post #36 (Link)
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Interesting discussion anyways. I think maybe two things have been confused. Remember that while the government doesn't have the right to control the books you choose to read, the school as a distinct entity may choose to ban anything from cornflakes to John Grisham, as long as that ban is in effect on school property. That is legal, and it's really neither here nor there in terms of morality. It is somewhat analogous to a family: it is neither objectively right nor wrong to have a rule that says "keep your room clean;" it's just a rule, that's all.

The rest of it - whether you actually ban a particular brand of books, and all that - is determined by the beliefs and values of the School Board. For example, a totally secular school board might remove all book-bans, while a school board influenced strongly by religious beliefs would ban anything they find to be inappropriate.

But I think the Constitution (or its counterpart in different cultures) doesn't play a part in it. The school is a private entity, and can choose to stock whatever they wish in their library, just like I can put whatever I want into my fridge, with no legal consequences.

In my opinion, yes, some books should be banned from schools. Mcdavey said, "Banning of books is one of the ways in which man tries to escape the truth." Well, if that's true, then segregating the different sexes into separate bathrooms is a way of denying the existence of the opposite sex. The fact is, good censorship doesn't deny the existence of that which is censors, it only refrains from revealing it.
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:49 AM View Post #37 (Link)
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In many countries, schools are absolutely not private entities: they are public ones. This goes double for libraries. While a teacher may decide that they do not want a book on their syllabus, a library is a whole other entity altogether. And let us remember that banning a book from a school does not just take it off syllabi: it removes it from the library.

Debating legal right is quite frankly a waste of intellectual time, so I won't do it. Bilbo is right: the constitution doesn't have a part in it, not only because this is a debate that transcends national jurisdictions, but because this is, I think, a moral and ethical debate -- not a legal one. No has mentioned legality up until now and quite frankly I think it was reductive to do so.

So far no one has written closely about libraries, their purpose or what happens in them. I have worked in libraries for years, both public. The first was in the community I grew up in. My current job is at my university's library. They are, granted, very different environments from a school library -- and not for the reasons you'd expected -- but they do have two things in common: they are not random efforts, and they exist to serve a community.

Library collections are curated, over years. I do not work directly with patrons; instead I work with them transitively, by shelving their books. This seems like a weird thing to say but there are certain practices I have had to keep up so statistics may be gathered. Library work is meticulous work, because in some, not only are check-outs counted, but usage. That is to say, if a patron takes a book off the shelf to read it, but doesn't check it out, we count that. What books are used and what books are checked out influence what books get ordered.

This is important to understand how librarians carry out their mission, which is to provide knowledge to a community. They curate that knowledge, those materials, to best suits the wants and needs of the community. Whenever I read articles on banning books, there seems to be this idea that the librarian either snuck the book in, or that no one realized what was in the book? To be honest, I really struggle to understand the perspective of people who ask for certain books to be removed from schools. Almost all cases of book-banning in schools are retroactive; the book is only noticed because a parent decided they didn't want Little Suzy to read it. (The solution to this problem is to email the damn teacher, by the way.) I think their perspective is a narrow one, and short-sighted, because here's the problem:

a school library serves a diverse, hard-to-define community. Within a high school, there are a number of demographics. People to not mature on a single timeline, and childhood and adolescence are a formative time; both make the curation of effective school libraries critical.

Think about the role books play in our lives. They help us understand other people, how our world works, what to expect from it, etc... There have been studies done, whose results suggest that reading helps humans empathize. Books challenge us and ask us to think in different ways. To develop a citizenry that is both intelligent, engaged, and ethical -- as the US school systems (they are state-run), my primary reference, purport to -- then a school library must provide the material to challenge students, to ask them to think about the world. And if we think of a school as an environment in which a student's well being is also protected, then a school must also provide a diverse set of materials, so students may arm themselves with information, as it were.

As I mentioned before, people don't mature at the same rate, and people need different things in their lives at different times. A student at seventeen may have no need for a book that tackles issues surrounding sexuality -- and no, I don't just mean sexual orientation -- but a student at fourteen might have a dire need for such a book. And you know what? Teenagers don't just need depictions of "the dark side of sexuality" (for lack of a better phrase"). To only permit books with protagonists dealing with sexual violence, but not books that depict characters having healthy, fulfilling sexual and romantic experiences -- a range that could include handholding to intercourse -- is to deprive those students. I target sexuality in books because it's probably the issue that weighs on people's minds the most obviously.

Books are chosen for a school library because a librarian -- who is trained to do their job, not just as a librarian but a librarian for schoolchildren (yes: library science degrees have concentrations) -- thought that those books would be a resource for some students.

Let's unpack this idea that schools can ban books for the sake of a civil society: what? Granted, I would interested in hearing these arguments expanded and explained -- they are a little unclear to me -- but I also think they are built primarily on shoddy logic. mcdavey brought up civility, and said that banning offensive books are in the "tradition of humanity," regardless of whether it is right; I argue that whether it is right matters. Human tradition is constantly evolving. Just because it seemed like a good idea when someone wanted an idea suppressed one hundred years ago doesn't mean it's a good idea now.

Removing a book from a library because it offends someone is foolish. Everything will offend someone. If we want to protect people from the fact that others have differing opinions -- something we seem especially keen to shield students from -- then why have books? Why have a library at all? Why have schools?

Others have argued that you can always get the banned book outside of school, but this ignores the fact that some people do not have easy access to books. For many people bookstores are far away. I grew up in a middle-class suburb of New York City and the nearest bookstore was twenty miles away. To make up for it, we had one of the best libraries in the county; but for people in rural areas, libraries may be miles away. Books, even bought online, may be too expensive. But every community has a school. Whether a school provides the education we hope as a society it will is one thing -- but a school will always have books in it.

tl;dr I do not argue against the careful curation of a library collection, but I do think that it is short-sighted, and even antithetical to the very idea of a library and of education, to ban books selected for that library.
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Old 10-31-2013, 03:36 AM View Post #38 (Link)
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You bring up some very interesting points. Thanks for that.

Apologies for brining up the legality issue, then. I was under the impression that the American Constitution was used in the previous pages to directly attack the censorship of certain books within school libraries.

The subject of libraries is an interesting one. Ultimately, yes, the library is there to cater to the literary tastes of the specific population that they serve. However, I don't think that's the end of the story. Should there be any other limits to a library's stock, other than the tastes of the general public? I think this subject has already been brought up in discussing hypothetical books such as "How to Murder a Man in 118 different Ways: A Rainy Day Book" or a book detailing how to be a pedophile.

Before we go any further, it's absolutely essential to determine: what is the moral ground concerning censorship of these types of books? What moral basis does this censorship/non-censorship have? Where is the line drawn on which books to censor (if any,) and how is this line determined? Why should one censor a book detailing how to be a rapist or a murderer?

Ultimately, this is the basic problem that is faced. The entire debate seems to rest on an individual's moral system and beliefs.
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:25 AM View Post #39 (Link) Well,
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Perhaps it would help if you put yourself in different shoes while thinking.
There is the shoe of the adventurous youngster who hates and fears restriction.
There is the shoe of the parent who wants to have some measure of influence over his/her child.
There is the shoe of the society which fears the tendency of uncivility...
Experience has thought me that words are the most powerful weapons on earth; especially when used by a gifted writer... The mind seems strong, but believe me it is very subtle; for there is only a thin line between good and evil, light and darkness, truth and untruth, loyalty and rebellion...
Sometimes a book might be positive, but the themes within makes it unfit for young minds, and if you were a parent struggling with the fears of loosing your influence over your child, you would probably want it to be banned.

Books that are banned are generally harmful: The difference is that some people accept they are harmful, while some people refuse to accept; but the fact that you refuse to accept that a lion is harmful, would not stop it from tearing you into shreds.

The world went wrong a long time ago, and some things were put in place to help maintain its balance. If we try to remove those things now, we would only be disturbing the balance of our world.
Banning of books is primarily related to the wearing of clothes... If people take off their clothes and begin to walk around the streets naked, the events that would follow would not be too pleasant.
We wear clothes not because we deny the existence of our bodies but because our level of knowledge makes it incumbent to do so... A community of savages might on the other hand; according to their level of knowledge, consider it normal to walk around unclothed.

Knowledge is power, but knowledge also enslaves; and since the world we live in today is a very knowledgeable one, 'banning of books' is one of the tasks our slave master has given us...
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