Library Studies Find ‘Challenge’ Books Increased By 2021 | Entertainment News

By HILLEL ITALIE, AP State Secretary

NEW YORK (AP) – Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, has never been so busy.

“A year ago, we were probably receiving one report, maybe two a day from a book that was being challenged in the library. And often those calls would be a guide to addressing challenges or resources that support the quality of the challenging work, “Caldwell-Stone told The Associated Press.” Now, we get three reports, which ‘ four, five. on a daily basis, many are in need of support and some are in dire need of support. ”

He added: “We always talk on the phone.

Reports of book bans and book-blocking attempts, as well as threats against library staff, have increased over the past year and the ALA has included additional figures in its annual State of America’s Libraries Report, released in Monday. The organization has received 729 challenges – involving about 1,600 textbooks – in public schools and libraries by 2021, more than double the number 2020 and higher since ALA began collecting challenges more than 20 years ago .

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The scope of last year’s reality may be even higher – ALA collects data through media accounts and on the conditions it learns from library staff and teachers and other members of the public. Books that are deliberately pulled out by library staff – for fear of public outcry or concern about their activities – and unspecified challenges in libraries are not included.

The number could rise again by 2022, said Caldwell-Stone, when ethics-led school boards and law courts impose further restrictions. Last week, the Georgia Legislature passed a bill that would expedite the process of removing books deemed “dangerous to children.”

Says Caldwell-Stone: “It does not surprise me.

Two of the most challenging books on ALA’s 10th list have appeared frequently in the news: Maia Kobabe’s vivid memory of sexual content, “Gender Queer,” and Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy”, age book the future is narrated by a teenager. homosexual man. Both are nominated by Republican officials.

Last fall in Virginia, Glenn Youngkin backed a two-book home board ban during his tenure as governor. At the same time, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster supported the school board’s decision to remove “Gender Queer”.

Recently Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized “Gender Queer” and “Lawn Boy” when they signed a law that would force elementary schools to provide a comprehensive list of every textbook available in their libraries or used. in education and parental consent, DeSantis said, “whistling.”

Kobabe and Evison noticed during a recent bizarre interview of their target books: They did not intend to write a story for young people. But they found the following among the students with the help of the American Library Association, which awarded each book the Alex Award for activities “written for adults especially appealing to young adults, aged 12 to 18 years. ”

“I think a large part of our books are highly regarded as award winners and end up being bought by libraries across the country,” Kobabe said.

Others on the ALA list, almost all of whom were quoted for LGBTQ or racial slogans, included Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give”, which referred to a black police shooting; George Johnson “All Boys Are Not Blue,” Juno Dawson’s “Book Is Gay” and Susan Kuklin’s “Beyond Magenta”. Two old books that were on the list before it also appeared: Sherman Alexie’s biography of the story “The Most Outstanding Indian Diary of the Temporary” and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison’s book “The Bluest Eye” . “

The library association defines a “challenge” as “a formal, written complaint sent to a library or school requesting that items be removed due to content or accuracy.” The ALA does not keep track of the number of books that have been removed, but cases have arisen over the past year. Last December, the school district of San Antonio, Texas, pulled out hundreds of library books to “ensure that they did not contain any obscene or filthy material.”

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