Friday, February 25, 2011

Oh, the Horror! Sex Education!

Melissa Cutler, from Fox 4 News, wrote about a mother who couldn't believe that there was sex in a children's book.  Shocking?  Maybe, if you aren't paying attention to what the child picked up and the fact that it is a sex education book from the Children's non-fiction section. 
When Rose Schifferdecker opened a book from the children’s section of the Carrollton library, she couldn’t believe her eyes. She said it describes sex.
 The mother is quite upset, but doesn't seem to realize that this is the sort of thing that can happen when you tell a child to just pick three books, whatever they want!  The child isn't going to be that discerning, at least when it comes to the parent's view of what is good or bad in a book.  Then, without looking through any of the books, she checks them all out for the children.  I guess she's under the impression that sex-education books don't exist for children?  Perhaps, but now she knows.  Even the author of the book wrote a response to the situation:
Author Dori Hillestad Butler said in an e-mail statement the book isn’t for everyone. It also wasn’t written for children to read alone.
"My Mom’s Having a Baby" received an Editor’s Choice award from Booklist in 2005. It was also named a Top Ten Sci-Tech book for Youth. But I’ll be the first to tell you that this is not a book for everyone. I didn’t write it for everyone. I also didn’t write it for children to read by themselves. I wrote it for parents to read with their children.
"I know that some families are reading this book with their children when they are as young as four. Others are reading it with 10-year-old children and still others aren’t reading it at all. And that’s okay. Every parent has not only a right, but also a responsibility, to decide what’s appropriate for their own children to read. But no one parent has the right to decide what other parents can read with their children." she said.
Seems pretty reasonable to me, though still not to the mother, who still  "doesn't believe the book belongs in the children's section of a public library where any child could pick it up."

Administrator Cheri Gross, director of Carrollton Libraries had this to say in response:
Ultimately it’s up to the parents to decide whether they want to take home a book or put it back on the shelf, said Cherie Gross, director of Carrollton Libraries.
And it's not as if the book is obscure.  It's a pretty well used text, according to Cutler's research:
“My Mom’s Having a Baby,” which can be found in the children’s non-fiction section, is highly recommended by respected industry magazines and journals. It meets many criteria including the fact that it’s circulated through 20 to 30 libraries across the state.
I don't know, maybe it's just because I don't have kids myself, but if you take your child or other children to the library, you should probably check what they're reading if you have concerns about what's out there.  Not every book is for every person, so there is obviously (or, I guess, not-so-obviously) there are going to be books out there that you don't agree with.  Does this mean the books should be taken off the shelves?  Of course not.  Should you check what you're checking out of the library for your child if you're so concerned?  Probably.

That's it for today.  End rant.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Freedom to Read Week [Canada]

Freedom to Read Week 2011
That's Right!  It's Freedom to Read Week here in Canada, from February 20-26
So let's Celebrate our Freedom by Reading!

The following is a list of the most challenged Books and Magazines of 2010 as put out by the Canadian Library Association.  As the information is relatively recent, the specifics of each challenge, and the locations, are not yet available for the current year.  So here are the top 50(ish) books from the list:
  1. Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
  2. Athkins, D.E. Swans in the Mist.
  3. Bateman, Colin. Murphy’s Law.
  4. Beck, Carolyn, and Andrea Beck. The Waiting Dog.
  5. Benton, Jim. Dear Dumb Diary: Never Underestimate Your Dumbness.
  6. Brannen, Sarah S. Uncle Bobby's Wedding.
  7. Burns, Charles. Black Hole. (12 issues in comic book series).
  8. Butler, Dori Hillestad. My Mom’s Having a Baby.
  9. Cairo. The Man Handler.
  10. Cash, William. The Third Woman: The Secret Passion That Inspired Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.
  11. CFA 100 Success Secrets—100 Most Asked Questions.
  12. Cooper, Roy. Calf Roping: The World Champion’s Guide for Winning Runs.
  13. DeFelice, Cynthia. Cold Feet.
  14. Denim, Sue, and Dav Pilkey. The Dumb Bunnies Go to the Zoo.
  15. Ennis, Garth. War Stories, Volume 1.
  16. Ennis, Garth, John McCrea and Darick Robertson. The Boys Volume 5: Herogasm.
  17. Gaiman, Neil. American Gods and M is for Magic.
  18. Grey, Mini. Egg Drop.
  19. Guru Granth Sahib [Sikh sacred scripture].
  20. Heide, Florence Parry. The Bigness Contest.
  21. Her gé. Tintin in the Congo.
  22. Horwitz, Tony. A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World.
  23. Jones, Rob Lloyd. See Inside Pirate Ships.
  24. Joosse, Barbara. Hot City.
  25. Logan, Jake. Slocum and the Lucky Lady.
  26. Lucas, George, Hisao Tamaki and David Land. Star Wars: A New Hope.
  27. Manning, Mick, and Brita Granstrom. Dino-Dinners.
  28. Mapplethorpe, Robert. Certain People: A Book of Portraits.
  29. McNally, Brian. “Good Evening, Vietnam!” in Vanity Fair, April 2008.
  30. Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Alice on Her Way and Alice the Brave.
  31. Nissan, Colin, and Sean Farrell. Don’t Be That Guy: A Collection of 60 Annoying Guys We All Know and Wish We Didn’t.
  32. Olsen, Gregg. Victim Six.
  33. Ouellette, Sylvie. Maria Monk.
  34. Perrault, Charles. The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault.
  35. Pfeifer, Will. Catwoman: Crime Pays.
  36. Rice, Anne. Beauty’s Punishment.
  37. Rolling Stone (September 2010 cover image)
  38. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter. (7 books in series).
  39. Sendak, Maurice. Outside Over There.
  40. Sorokin, Vladimir. Pir.
  41. Spiegelman, Art. Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!.
  42. Stack, Frank. The New Adventures of Jesus: The Second Coming.
  43. Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  44. Willis, Jeanne. Big Bad Bun.
  45. Wiseman, Jay. Jay Wiseman’s Erotic Bondage Handbook.
  46. Xtra! West.
Get out there and read the books, enjoy them, learn from them, be critical of them, but please don't get rid of them!  Have a Happy Freedom to Read Week!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sex, Elephants, and the Taylors...

The and both covered the recent controversy relating to Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, which has been removed from a class at Bedford High.
A second book has been pulled from the Bedford High School curriculum following complaints about its sexual content by the same parents who started the argument about Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By In America, which was removed from the high school’s personal finance course last month. (
The school decided to put on a number of intersession courses for students who wanted to learn more about literature that isn't a normal part of the curriculum.
Sara Gruen’s best-selling book “Water for Elephants” was scheduled to be used in one of the high school’s intersession programs – three-day experiences in April geared to give students a valuable opportunity beyond the classroom – but Bedford High School Principal Bill Hagen said the decision was made last week to remove that course as an option. 
But what valuable experience can occur without some sort of obstacle.  In this case it was the parents of a student who was signed up for the intersession course.  These are the same parents who earlier removed their child from a class after the Nickel and Dimed controversy last year.
Bedford residents Dennis and Aimee Taylor sent complaints to Hagen and Superintendent Tim Mayes about the book last week and denounced the text at the Bedford School Board meeting Monday. 
“This book is likely to be a rated-X book, and thus, is totally unsuitable for use by the school,” Taylor said in an e-mail. “I advocate that all persons responsible for the chain of events that lead to this book being used be fired or terminated from the School Board.” 
Taylor further suggested that the school only allow “youth versions” of particular books or organize a parental review system over the summer that would look at books that students need parental permission to read. 
I have to say I am very disappointed in the decision made by the school to not only remove the text, but remove the class entirely.  
Hagen supported the teachers who wanted to remove the intersession option entirely and avoid another round of controversy, but he said the school has to be careful to avoid starting down this slippery slope.
I'm sorry to tell you this, Mr. Hagen, but you've already fallen down the slippery slope you are trying to avoid.  You've taken away two texts and a course just because of one family and where are the review committees and the school district reviews in all of this?
“The inherent danger in what has happened here is that unless we go through a respectful and challenging review process, we might have a safe and sanitized curriculum,” Hagen said. “That’s a concern as an educator that I have.” 
Hagen said the school will continue to improve and review their process to allow books into the curriculum, and he hopes to have more informed discussions from townspeople about them.
This situation is discouraging coming in the wake of my last post on the Richland SD and the successes of their review process.  In this case, no review was taken into consideration.  There was one meeting and then the book was removed, as was the class, by the same Principal who is afraid of a "slippery slope."  I don't know what to say.  I only hope the school ends up having to remove every book and cancel every class based on this one family.  Maybe at that point Mr. Hagen will understand what a problem he's started by falling prey to the Taylors every time they open their mouths.

Freedom requires a fight, and Bedford High is not fighting for Freedom.

Thanks for listening.

(Here's a link to the passage that created such a controversy)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Merits of the Richland SD Review Process

A recent article on highlighted the various components of the Richland School District book review process. Previous attempts by a parent to remove Snow Falling on Cedars from an AP English class at Hanford High School were thwarted in each level of the review. The district recently updated the process and new policies were put in place to address parental control over classroom materials. Here is a brief summary of the events surrounding the challenge according to the article:
In some ways, banning a book from the school system is a greater act of censorship than banning it from public libraries. It prevents not only access to the text but also an academic discussion of the ideas and issues the book explores.

It's not the first book this parent has hoped to have removed. He's part of a group that ranks books used in Richland classes on their perceived levels of offense.

Judging from the grades given by the parent group, they're pretty easy to offend. It's a rare book that gets an "A" grade from them. They equate an "A" book to a G-rated movie for content.
Obviously this is an extreme view of literature (as is often the case when someone is trying to ban a book from a classroom), and all parents have different policies for their own children, which is why "Under Richland's policy, parents have the right to remove any book from their children's reading lists." The article goes on:
But the most easily offended parents can't be allowed set the standards. There needs to be a better system for evaluating books than counting the number of curse words.

That Snow Falling on Cedars made it through the new review process is a testament to the system.

It carefully was reviewed by district administrators, the Instructional Materials Committee -- a combination of teachers, administrators and parents -- the superintendent, and finally the school board. And it passed each test.
It is good to see a review system that works, that addresses all aspects of the piece of literature on multiple levels (review board, superintendent, school board). With this sort of system, the text is put to a number of tests, and once it reaches the end of the process and is (hopefully) kept in the system, it would be incredibly difficult to refute the decision made by three different levels of review.

The article also brings up another aspect of book challenges that I have covered before: They're great publicity. Since the book was under review for the school year, it was off the reading list until a decision was made, but during that time, and now after, there will most likely be many more students who will read it to find out what the big deal was.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Or Not!)

What I can't seem to grasp, and what seems to come up at least once every week, is how certain parents think that schools should be run according to their views and opinions, and not according to a curriculum that will serve the widest range of students possible.  In the latest controversy surrounding Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a parent of a Clarkstown High School student (New York) is demanding that the book be removed not only from the school curriculum, but also from the library shelves in both high schools in the district.  Would they be happy with simply allowing their daughter to read a different book?  Hell no!  (Though I'll get to that later.)
"It is in my opinion reprehensible that this book is in front of students in high school," said Aldo DeVivo, describing the book as abominable for its depiction of sex and use of curse words. "And just as important, I being a Christian, there is a phrase that uses my God's name in vain. There is just no place for that."
Apart from poor sentence structure, Mr. DeVivo seems to believe that just because he has a certain religious belief/affiliation, that the entire school should follow his own singular opinion.  The school district's response was both enlightening and important, in that it actually confronted the notion of a single parent being able to decide what is right for every student:
The Clarkstown school district released a statement saying that its mission was to present a curriculum with a wide variety of topics that helped in creating well-rounded members of a global society. It said no parents had the right to decide what materials were suitable for students other than their own children.
"It is the district's firm belief that the classroom provides a valuable forum for the expression of responsible views on public issues of a controversial nature," the statement read. "However, in the event that a parent, as in this case, is concerned with a literature selection, the parent is encouraged to voice his/her views to the school administration." 
And voice their views, the DeVivo's did:
"We feel more determined than ever to get the word out and make parents aware," said DeVivo. "These books are paid for by our tax dollars." 
In keeping with district policy, DeVivo's daughter was allowed to pick another book for her English class. But DeVivo said he was not happy with that alternative because his daughter would be the only one reading that book. 
DeVivo said he had also pulled his daughter out of a class because he disagreed with how Christopher Columbus was depicted. 
These parents not only seem to want full control over the curriculum within the school/school district, but  don't seem to be happy with any of the ways in which the administration is attempting to diffuse the situation.  There are two main aspects of the DeVivo's argument that I would like to visit.

1) The books are paid for by their tax dollars.  Correct!  They are obviously well educated people.  And being well educated, they should also understand that there are many other people who pay taxes, all of whom have different views on books such as Wallflower.  This being the case, the tax dollars are used to provide students with materials that cover a wide range of topics, which is exactly what Chbosky's book does!  And since this is the case, parents are given options if they don't agree with what is being taught, which brings me to my next point.

2) DeVivo's daughter would be the only one reading the book that is not part of the regular curriculum.  These parents are super-smart!  Yes, she will be reading a different book, because if she was reading the same book, the parents wouldn't be happy (though they don't seem to be happy with anything) and if all the other students must read a different book, then every student is being forced to read something that one singular parent (or I suppose one parental couple) has decided on, which goes against my first point in which many people pay taxes, all of whom have many different opinions, and many of whom do not seem to mind the current book choice.

Sorry for the rant, but this particular topic is steadily growing from pet peeve to the status of something-I-want-to-wage-war-against.  But thanks for listening, and hopefully sometime soon I'll once again have some good news, but judging from my inbox, it's not looking like that'll happen this week.

Talk, comment, discuss!

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday, Quote Day!

Why do so many of us seem to want to read a YA book simply to detect niggling errors of accuracy or “inappropriate” vocabulary—whether too difficult or too dirty—in tiny parts, instead of reading a book as a whole to feel how exciting, poignant, or provocative it is. (Provocative, by the way, is good.)

From Bruce Brooks' Introduction to M. Aronson's, Exploding the myths: The truth about teenagers and reading. (p. x)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Book Stays, the Parents Stays Quiet...

Sometimes it's tough writing three posts a week, and other times it's not.  It's a tough thing.  I like those weeks when it's easy to come up with material, but that means there's stuff going on that I need to address, which is usually not a good thing.  And those times I can't find material are bad, but good because that means nothing crazy is going on that I've been able to find (not that it means there's nothing crazy going on at all.)  Today relates to the latter problem.  Besides the usual suspects (Huck Finn and Part-Time Indian) nothing too much has happened that I have gotten a hold of.

On that note, I don't like straying from my routine out of fear that I will forget to update the blog for weeks at a time, so I will put up a little something that I found today.  It's actually some good news, so that makes it a win-win in some ways.  Without further adieu, here we go:

In October of 2010, a parent in the Helena School District, MT, requested that the book be removed from the school curriculum.  A recent article on stated that
[Michele] Smith filed the request in October to remove the book which she feels has obscene, vulgar and pornographic language.
“Whatever purpose the author is attempting to accomplish is completely negated by the many objectionable parts scattered throughout this entire book,” she wrote in her request.
Smith argued that the book damages young people by perpetuating filth, and was one of a handful who testified in removing the book at the public hearing held in December. Dozens testified to keep the book and more than 100 people attended.
The review committee in charge of the challenge voted unanimously to keep the book in place as part of the school curriculum.  Smith was not happy about the decision, saying,
“I’m disappointed, but not surprised....  I decided not to appeal because it wouldn’t change anything. They seem pretty set with their decision and nothing more I could do or say would change that.”
The superintendent upheld the committee's recommendation.  The review was based on five points, and they are as follows:
First the resource option meets the mandated state standards for the integration of Indian Education for All. Second, board policy says a book will not be excluded because of race, nationality, political or religious values of the writer or of the material’s style and language. Third, board policy says books are chosen for value of interest and enlightenment of all students in the community. The committee wrote that the many students who testified spoke of the positive impact the book had on them. Fourth, the option for alternative curricular assignment was offered; and fifth, the book is highly recommended by recognized review authorities and received many national literary awards. 
Many times the outcome of these reviews are stated as either successful or unsuccessful, but not often are the full reasons outlined for the general public.  Whether a committee decides to keep or withdraw material, I think that publication of the reasoning should be mandatory so that people know on what criteria the books are being judged.

And that's the news for today.  Thanks, as always, for listening.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Castration Celebration!

Castration Celebration, a new novel by Jake Wizner (author of Spanking Shakespeare) is becoming a source of controversy in libraries across North America and in the UK.  While not officially censored or taken out of any libraries as of yet (that I know of) there are a number of instances being reported on listservs in which administrators are attempting to remove the book from Teen Fiction sections and move it into Adult Fiction.  Why, you ask?  Because of apparent inappropriateness for its intended age group due to sexuality and language.  I think it's safe to say that the majority of books out there for teens and young adults deal with sexuality and subjects that parents might consider "inappropriate."  But does that mean the subjects are actually inappropriate?  Or just that the parents perceive the material as inappropriate?  Either way, the books are out there, and they are for teens, and about teens, and teens should be able to have access to them.

The first problem I have with this situation is the fact that not a single instance of this re-categorization has been spawned by a parental or teen complaint, but from library administrators.

The second problem with this is that the book is being considered inappropriate for its intended audience.  Well, let the audience decide that, then.  If the book is written for older teens, then let those teens bring forward the complaints.  And if the book is inappropriate for younger readers, then they will either put the book back, or enjoy it.  In either case, the library is responsible for keeping the books available for their intended audiences so that they are accessible, not hidden in the "wrong" area so no teens can find the book.

The complaint has been raised that the cover is too "High School Musical" for such a raunchy book.  Well, the title has the word "castration" in it.  If a teen doesn't want to read about castration, then they probably won't.  Some administrators declared that because the word is split up that young people won't necessarily notice what the word is.  I think that is just an insult to young people everywhere!  To claim that they can't figure out a word because it's split into three sections?  Preposterous!

I have not read the book, so I can't speak for it in terms of its content, but I have read Wizner's Spanking Shakespeare, and while it was rather sexual at times, it was a very humorous, witty, and touching book that, I felt, was very deserving of the classification of Young Adult.  And it's not as if Random House it trying to hide the content of the book.  The description on their website reads,
"Jake Wizner's story within a story takes the battle of the sexes to a whole new level in a bawdy, uproarious romp that's laugh-out-loud fun."
It's not as though the publisher is hiding the fact that the book is "bawdy."  If people don't want to read it, they won't.  Young people are amazingly discerning when it comes to what they do or don't want to read.  So why are some people so intent upon this strange breed of "protection" that just makes access to books more difficult?  ~sigh~

Thanks for listening!  And don't forget to comment if you've read the book or come across any other incidents with this book!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bitch, Please!

This week, something very interesting happened.  Bitch Media released their list of top 100 YA books for Feminist Readers, but after a switch-up of three books on the list, controversy ensued.  Three books were taken off the list and replaced with alternative titles after concerns were brought forward about "triggering" themes (i.e. rape) in the texts.  There have been incredibly explosive responses on both sides of the argument, and the rest of this post will be dedicated to listing and discussing some of these responses.  The first of these comes from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books:
Bitch posted their 100 YA books for the Feminist Reader list, and of course, like any thing that is (a) a list (b) adorned with the word “feminist” and (c) on the internet, there was lots of discussion. And disagreement. And expressions of disappointment. Some didn’t like that certain books were left off, and some didn’t like the books that were selected, particularly those that were sexually violent or challenging to the reader’s emotional equilibrium. I can understand that - books are powerful things, but all the more reason to collect them in to one giant list to share with libraries and those looking for thoughtful reading material to share with young adult readers.
Later, a response came from the creators of the list at Bitch Media.  Ashley McAllister, one of the authors, wrote this in regards to the three removed novels:
A couple of us at the office read and re-read Sisters Red, Tender Morsels and Living Dead Girl this weekend. We’ve decided to remove these books from the list— Sisters Red because of the victim-blaming scene that was discussed earlier in this post, Tender Morsels because of the way that the book validates (by failing to critique or discuss) characters who use rape as an act of vengeance, and Living Dead Girl because of its triggering nature. We still feel that these books have merit and would not hesitate to recommend them in certain instances, but we don’t feel comfortable keeping them on this particular list.
The two main reactions to this statement are as follows: The books should have been left alone and the content should be left to the discretion of the reader; The nature of rape in the books is questionable at best and should be thoughtfully examined in terms of its use within the text.

From the first camp, Scott Westerfeld commented on the situation:

 Let’s get this straight: You put Tender Morsels on your list without having read it, then saw a handful of outraged comments appear. So you rereadTender Morsels, swiftly and with those comments uppermost in your mind, then decided they HAD to be right.
Did you talk to anyone in the non-outraged camp first? To those feminists who originally recommended it? Did you engage in a rigorous discussion at all? Or did you just cave?
Two requests:
1) Please remove my book Uglies from the list. It’s an embarrassment to be on it.
2) Perhaps change your name to something more appropriate, like EasilyIntimidatedMedia. After all, the theme of Tender Morsels is that one must eventually leave a magical, fabricated safe haven for (sometimes brutal) reality. The theme of this blog would appear to be the exact opposite.
A member of the Child_Lit listserv (who shall remain nameless since I didn't ask permission to reveal any identities from emails) that I subscribe to agreed with Mr. Westerfeld:
Good to see Scott Westerfeld drawing attention the the lack of logic in the decision (and for demanding that 'Uglies' be removed) - and I particularly like his suggested renaming of themselves, from 'Bitch' to 'EasilyIntimidatedMedia'.
'Triggering' seems a very loose 'post hoc' term to bandy about. Makes people trigger happy, clearly.
Another member of the listserv (who shall also remain nameless, had a different response to the situation:
Heavy-handed critique may be out of place in a work of fiction, but critique of some kind has to come into play when dealing with a “rape as revenge” scenario, or with outright victim-blaming if the author wants to call the book a work of feminist fiction. The fact of the matter is, we live fully within rape culture, and so no, no one gets a free pass to use rape as a plot point and then NOT dissect it under the guise of “humanity understands that rape is bad”. Clearly not, or we wouldn’t be asking rape victims what clothing they wore to try to vindicate rapists. And self-blame may be a part of a victimised [sic] person’s experience, but unless we plan on locking all potential victims in impenetratable [sic] cells for their own protection, it is not conducive to paint victim-blaming as an acceptable component of feminist lit.
I have not read any of the three novels being discussed, so I must refrain from adding too much of my own opinion.  I am partly in the middle so far, however, agreeing that 'rape as revenge' is a particularly disturbing notion and one that should be very, very critically considered before inclusion in a YA text.  But at the same time, removing a text from a list of feminist topics just because it contains a 'trigger' of some sort, is perhaps jumping the gun.  Many books contain topics that are triggers to some parts of the population, which is why those people don't read those books, or if they do, they do so from a critical perspective.

What do you think of the situation?  It is very complex and important to look at both sides of the scenario.  And while I do think Bitch Media made a poor move by taking the books off the list, I also think there is much to consider about the books in question before jumping to quick judgments, especially since Bitch Media has a history of strong and controversial opinions.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ian McMillan banned from creative writing workshop in the UK...

I just read this on another blog (An Awfully Big Blog Adventure: The ramblings of a few scattered authors) and thought I would share it. But whereas I would normally write a commentary with clips from articles or books, I will be refraining for today. The writer of this particular blog entry, author Ellen Renner, did a marvellous job and I feel I would be simply doing the writing injustice by trying to re-write was is already well written. The following is a segment of the blog entry, along with a link to the full commentary. I hope you will all read it and comment, either here or on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.
Mr. Ian McMillan
Yesterday, as I was filing my income tax, someone emailed to tell me about Sheffield City Council's decision this week to ban Ian McMillan. For those who don't know about this, Mr McMillan, a poet, broadcaster and comedian, was scheduled to run a children's creative writing workshop at Upperthorpe Library in Sheffield. The event was intended to highlight the value of libraries to their local community, in a time when, as we all know, both school and public libraries face massive cuts. 
Apparently, the city council banned Mr McMillan because they feared that the event might be hijacked for the purpose of making 'political' comments. Hijacked by whom, or how, the article didn't make clear, but according to Sintoblog ( the background to this is the fact that Sheffield council, although not currently proposing any library closures at present, is planning major cuts to the library budget which will have an inevitable knock-on to service provision. 
Read the rest here.

If you would like to read another rather enlightening post about opposition to libraries (though not necessarily with anything to do with censorship) you can read a very heartfelt speech by Philip Pullman here.

And as always, thanks for reading!