First Amendment and Censorship | Advocacy, Legislation & IssuesA censorial spirit is at work in the United States, and for the past year or so it has focused more and more on books. Efforts to remove certain titles from school and public libraries, from paperback racks and bookstores, from the eyes of the adults as well as children, have increased measurably. According to one of the board's press releases, the books were "anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semetic sic and just plain filthy. A Federal Court of Appeals declared last year that it was "permissible and appropriate" for local school boards "to make decisions based upon their personal, social, political and moral views. In Abingdon, Va.
The most frequently banned classic book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Each book that is banned or censored is done so for the content within the pages. There are a few common reasons that books have been banned or censored in schools, libraries, and book stores. These include:. Encouragement of "Damaging" Lifestyles: Content of book encourages lifestyle choices that are not of the norm or could be considered dangerous or damaging.
Therefore, the discretion of school boards to remove books from school libraries is limited. The law requires that if a book is to be removed, an inquiry must be made as to the motivation and intention of the party calling for its removal. Brief history Book-banning in school libraries is only the latest battleground in a centuries-old war over the censorship of ideas. Secular and religious authorities have censored books for as long as people have been writing them. In B. In ancient times, when hand-scribed books existed in only one or a few copies, destroying them usually by burning guaranteed that no one would ever read them. Once the invention of the printing press around made it possible to circulate many copies of a book, book-burning, though still highly symbolic, could no longer effectively control the dissemination of texts.
Book banning, the most widespread form of censorship, occurs when private individuals, government officials, or organizations remove books from libraries, school reading lists, or bookstore shelves because they object to their content, ideas, or themes. Those advocating a ban complain typically that the book in question contains graphic violence, expresses disrespect for parents and family, is sexually explicit, exalts evil, lacks literary merit, is unsuitable for a particular age group, or includes offensive language.
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Book censorship "is the removal, suppression, or restricted circulation of literary, artistic, or educational material--of images, ideas, and information--on the grounds that these are morally or otherwise objectionable in the light of standards applied by the censor. The Marshall University Libraries, which conduct research on banned books in the United States, have defined a banned book as one that has been "removed from a library, classroom, etc. Public and school libraries in the US have the ability to limit children's choice of books to read. Some of the banned books are valuable in helping children discover their identities or educate themselves. Sponsors of literacy in education have carried out censorship, including parents, school boards, lobbying groups, clergy, librarians and teachers. During the s, a very prevalent form of book censorship in the United States was book burning. This book burning in Boston , Massachusetts is often referred to and even considered the "first book burning in America".
Each year, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom records hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have books removed from libraries shelves and from classrooms. These titles are books on the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top Novels of the 20th Century that have been banned or challenged. If you would like to support the office's work in providing confidential support to libraries and schools that face censorship attempts, please consider making a donation. Skip to main content. The Great Gatsby , by F. Removed from the Selinsgrove, PA suggested reading list Removed from the required reading list in Middleville, MI