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Challenged or Banned Books Sources - LSC-CyFair
What Is the Law & Why Is It Controversial?
"It is this (first) amendment that guarantees us the right to free speech, and by extension, freedom to read."
-Random House, Inc.
First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Freedom to Read Statement (from the American Library Association)
Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A (from the American Library Association)
Book Censorship (from the First Amendment Center of Vanderbilt (University) Institute for Public Policy Studies)
School vs. Public Libraries
What Makes Them Different in Controversies Related to Books?
School Libraries and the First Amendment
quoted from Freedom Forum, nonpartisan foundation promoting First Amendment rights
- "The First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of the press extend to public school libraries."
- "School boards cannot restrict the availability of books in public school libraries simply because school-board members disagree with certain ideas or content."
- "School officials may remove books from the public school library based on educational suitability, but they may not 'prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion.'"
Public Libraries and the First Amendment
adapted from Banned in the U.S.A. by Herbert N. Foerstel from eBook Collection database
NOTE: login with library card/college ID off campus
- Public library use is voluntary in contrast to compulsory public education.
- Parents have more opportunity to decide what their children can view from the public library in contrast to children going with their class to read books at the school library.
- A broader community with wide-ranging interests is served by the public library vs. the school library.
What Action Has Occurred in Controversies Involving Library Materials?
- Ban = removal of a book or other material from a library of school
- Censorship = the practice of limiting or preventing access to information
- Challenge = concern about a content of a book or other material is voiced or in most cases, written down on a complaint form that begins a process of review by a librarian, school/library board, and/or administration
- Expurgate = removing or hiding words or other content of a book or other material in an effort to prevent access to the complete work done by individuals in most cases (p. 146 - American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Manual, 7th edition, 2006 - call number 025.213 Int 2006)
- Reinstate = book or other material has been reviewed by a higher authority (after an earlier ruling that caused a restriction or ban to be enacted) and its content has been determined to be of sufficient merit to return to library shelves
- Restrict = book or other material has been challenged and a governing body has ruled that it be placed in a more mature area of the library or put in a secure area that requires permission to view/read
Selected Books Available at Lone Star CollegeCyFair Branch Library
Titles are from cases around the United States - see why in the selected web links
Search for library materials in the Library Catalog.
See book summaries for the titles below (PDF document format (78K) - download reader as needed).
- Alice in Jeopardy: A Novel - Ed McBain (MacB X) - 292 pages
- America (the Book): a Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction - Jon Stewart (814.54 Ste) - 227 pages
- Around the World in Eighty Days - Jules Verne (Ver) - 247 pages
- The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman Ernest J. Gaines (Gai) 246 pages
- The Awakening and Other Stories Kate Chopin (Cho SS) 221 pages for The Awakening
- Bean Trees Barbara Kingsolver (Kin) 261 pages
- Black Like Me John Howard Griffin (975.004 Gri) 239 pages
- Bluest Eye Toni Morrison (Mor) 215 pages
- Born on the Fourth of July Ron Kovic (959.704 Kov) 216 pages
- The Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World Michael Pollan (306.45 Pol) 271 pages
- Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions Ben Mezrich (364.172 Mez) 257 pages
- The Chocolate War Robert Cormier (Cor - Young Adult Fiction) 263 pages
- Crazy Lady Jane Leslie Conly (Con Young Adult Fiction) 180 pages
- Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying Derek Humphry (362.28 Hum) 220 pages
- Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes (Key SF) 286 pages
- Go Ask Alice Anonymous (Go Young Adult Fiction) 212 pages
- How the García Girls Lost Their Accents Julia Alvarez (Alv) 286 pages
- Jaws Peter Benchley (Ben) 278 pages
- Life is Funny: A Novel E.R. Frank (Fra Young Adult Fiction) 263 pages
- Like Water for Chocolate Laura Esquivel (Esq) 245 pages
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey (Kes) 281 pages
- Ordinary People Judith Guest (Gue) 263 pages
- Ox-Bow Incident Walter Van Tilburg Clark (Cla) 246 pages
- Rainbow Boys Alex Sanchez (San Young Adult Fiction) 233 pages
- The Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip-Hop & the Poetry of a New Generation edited by Mark Eleveld (811.508 Spo) 241 pages
- Tobacco Road Erskine Caldwell (Cal) 184 pages
- Why Are We in Vietnam? Norman Mailer (Mai) 208 pages
Magazine, Newspaper, & Journal Articles
Search for author information, reviews of your chosen book, and controversy related to your book with one of more of the databases below.
Titles with below = Lone Star College System college access off campus with valid college ID/library card number
All other titles = off campus by HCPL & Lone Star College System library card holders
How to Search for Banned or Challenged Book Information in a Database:
- Use one of more of the databases below.
- Enter the name of your book in quotations if it is more than one word - example: "Black Like Me").
- Put the word, "and" between the book title and the author's last name - example: "Black Like Me" and Griffin.
- Add the words, challenged or banned in parentheses to the search listing above.
example: "Black Like Me" and Griffin and (challenged or banned)
- Use synonyms for the words, challenged or banned if you get poor results. Substitute related words to get results such as remove, controversial, or restrict (or forms of those words).
How to Search for Banned or Challenged Book Information in Internet Searches:
- Enter a similar search as above into Google or other search engine.
- Google will accept an "or" search. So here is an example.
example: "Black Like Me" Griffin challenged OR banned
Academic Search Complete
(EBSCO) Articles from journals, magazines, newspapers on a variety of topics.
Biography Reference Bank
(H.W. Wilson) Includes detailed profiles of current and past personalities and "links to 380,000+ related full-text articles plus more than 36,000 images."
(Thomson Gale) Short biographies of current authors.
Dictionary of Literary Biography
(Thomson Gale) In-depth literary biographies of current and past authors.
Historical New York Times
(ProQuest) Covers the years of 1851-2003 of the newspaper with full-text and full-image articles.
(EBSCO) Includes complete articles from over 200 regional, national, international newspapers plus television & radio news transcripts.
(ProQuest) Full text of Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post with 20+ years of coverage.
Westlaw Campus Research
(Thomson West) News, business, and legal research materials.
NOTE: Click the GO button at the bottom right corner of the first screen to search the database.
Selected Web Sites
Reasons for Books Being Challenged or Banned
From the American Booksellers Association, American Library Association, and other journalism or publishing organizations (compiled by Robert P. Doyle and posted on the Illinois Library Association web site), the documents below provide the reasons why action was taken against titles listed. NOTE: These lists may not include all titles challenged during that time period, but reflect titles challenged, restricted, removed, or banned as reported in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom from the American Library Association.
Additional information on why titles are considered controversial:
Find examples of MLA, APA, or Chicago style format on the Citation Help page to give credit to information sources used in an assignment.
PowerPoint Presentation Tips from Bates College
PowerPoint Tips (PDF) from the University of Maine at Farmington
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