Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Does your local library practice self-censorship?

While Banned Books Week—an annual celebration of the freedom to read—ended earlier this month, some rural libraries adhere to self-censorship, keeping any book off the shelf that might offend locals, Clare Roth and Charity Nebbe report for Iowa Public Radio. A rural Iowa librarian told Roth and Nebbe, "At my library, the last official challenge was ten years ago, so it’s been a long time, but at the same time, we are pretty cognizant of the community we live in, and we tend not to buy books that people are going to have a fit about. There’s a certain amount of self-censorship, especially when it comes to small towns."

"I believe libraries are the last bastions of true democracy; you can find out anything you want to know no matter who you are," the librarian said. "But I also know someone who’s in a library in a town of just over a hundred people who primarily buys Christian fiction because she knows what’s going to go over well. The smaller the library the fewer the dollars you have, so you have to spend it on things your patrons are going to read." To listen to the full broadcast of the radio show, click here.

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