Librarian: I Banned a Book, Reaction Was Disappointing

Lots of outrage, little action, librarian writes
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2015 12:55 PM CDT
People should've done more to reverse his book ban, librarian says.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – "In the library world, access to information is a human right, not to be tampered with or controlled in any way." That's how Scott DiMarco, a library director at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, starts off his piece in the Conversation. He points out the "balance in points of view" that a good library tries to achieve in the books it offers, as well as how often challenges to books are made nationwide (311 challenges reported in 2014). He notes that after being disappointed at low turnout for a Banned Books Week awareness event, he decided to rile up the locals by banning a book by a "well-liked, local author"—with the author's blessing. It did contain some sex and violence, but the point was "to show that anything can be cherry-picked from a book as grounds for a challenge or ban."

The reaction "from students, faculty, alumni, and the public was unexpected—and swift—in its vehemence." But it wasn't exactly the reaction he had hoped for. While the outrage was there, especially on Facebook, DiMarco was disappointed that it didn't go much beyond that—to wit, there was a lot of talk, but no action. "I was disappointed that on a campus of roughly 3,000 students and faculty, only eight people actually asked to meet with me to discuss the reasons I banned the book, and to ask what could be done to reverse the ban," he writes. Although he was pleased to have brought awareness to book banning, "efforts to get the book removed from the banned list should have been the real result." Read his entire post. (Here are the 10 books parents complained the most about.)

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