Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) hosts “Banned Books Week,” as a way to protest the current so-called crisis in libraries – censorship of unorthodox materials and viewpoints.
From ALA’s viewpoint, anyone – at any age – should have unrestricted access to anything regardless of content or means (books, Internet, DVDs, magazines and the like).
However, careful analysis of ALA’s statistics shows that the crisis is really “much ado about nothing.”
Very few of the so-called banned books each year are actually taken off library shelves. Out of the thousands of books represented in public libraries, approximately 57 books were reportedly removed in 2009 – hardly qualifying as a national crisis.
THE REAL AGENDA
Candi Cushman, education analyst for CitizenLink, said there’s a hidden motive behind the ALA’s huge promotion of the event.
“It seems like the ALA is manufacturing a national crisis to undermine the legitimate role that parents are trying to have in the process,” she said. “When looking at the ALA’s own statistics, the majority of the so-called banning attempts involve parental concerns about sexually explicit books in schools.”
One book in particular, “And Tango Makes Three,” promotes homosexuality to elementary children and consistently ranks as one of the top three books on ALA’s most-challenged list.
Justin Richardson, author of book, said that the government is on his side:
“…unlike in the debate of gays in the military, gays at the altar, gays in the Boy Scouts, and so on, this time the government is squarely behind us, and that makes all the difference.
“And not only is the U.S. Constitution indisputably on our side…but, throughout these years of challenges we have had the great support of the American Library Association, the ACLU, and PEN America, as well as countless teachers, librarians, parents, and most meaningful to us, children.”
Candi Cushman said that while Focus on the Family does not see its role as making a judgment call on each and every book in a school library, the organization does back parental rights:
“Parents protesting the promotion of homosexuality to their 6- or 7-year-old child against their will is not about book banning. It’s about parents having the right and responsibility to have a role in what their kids are exposed to at school.
“It’s unfair for national groups like the ALA to go after parents and label them as ‘censors,’ simply because they want to protect their children from oftentimes harmful, age-inappropriate material. Though not every single parent complaint may be legitimate, parents have a First Amendment right to express concerns. And we can trust the democratic process to weed out illegitimate complaints.”
According to Cushman, ALA has the more extremist viewpoint – not parents.
“Parents’ desire to protect their children from damaging influences is healthy and normal –not extremist,” she said. “Furthermore, local taxpayers have more of a vested interested –and a right –to weigh in on what’s placed on the shelves of their children’s school libraries and in classrooms, than an outside interest group.”
CitizenLink is encouraging families to have a proactive response to this event by donating books that offer a faith-based or socially conservative perspective on issues, such as homosexuality and abortion.
Donating books is a great way that families can be the “salt and light” in their communities, and hold the library association accountable to upholding its own principles of welcoming “unorthodox” points of view.