Censorship and Selection: Issues and Answers for Schools / Edition 3

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Editorial Reviews

With challenges to both public and school library materials on the rise, Reichman's manual provides sound practical advice on how to handle this complex and emotionally charged subject. Updated to include extensive information on Internet filtering, the third edition also highlights challenges to gay and lesbian literature, witchcraft, and the occult—all potentially controversial topics. Citing statistics from several studies that provide theoretical groundwork, Reichman examines the complexion of the censor, both in terms of motivation (family values, political views, religion, and minority rights) and personality. He reviews the wide range of issues in dispute, from so-called dirty words and sex education to violence and secular humanism. The author stresses the importance of establishing sound selection policies that are crafted carefully and are administered consistently. Recommendations for handling complaints and requests for reconsideration are illustrated with school-specific examples. A chapter on law and censorship specific to school and public libraries offers a concise but comprehensive overview of how the legal system views First Amendment rights within the field of public education. Reichman admirably balances disdain for the act of censorship with respect for the right of an individual to have a forum for voicing personal beliefs and concerns. The appendixes are especially helpful and include a school system checklist, a workbook for selection policy writing, a sample policy, and summaries of selected legal cases. Unfortunately, the bibliography is somewhat dated, covering the past decade rather than concentrating on more recent publications. Along with Ann Symons'sProtecting the Right to Read (Neal-Schuman, 1995/VOYA June 1996), Reichman's book should be required reading for all school media specialists and public librarians. Index. Biblio. Source Notes. Further Reading. Appendix. 2001, ALA Editions, 232p, $35 pb. Ages Adult. Reviewer: Cindy Lombardo
School Library Journal
This revision of the 1993 edition has been updated to include sections on Internet filtering, gay and lesbian literature, and challenges to books on witchcraft and the occult. Reichman addresses what to do to prevent or prepare for censorship problems, what to do in specific situations, and legal issues and relevant cases. The appendixes offer an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, a workbook for selection-policy writing, a sample selection policy, guidelines for student publications, dealing with questions about library resources, a selected list of concerned national organizations, summaries of related legal cases, and an annotated bibliography on the First Amendment and Intellectual Freedom. The author mentions an evening course for parents taught by an English teacher on "Books Our Children Read" noting: "It is imperative that public schools reach out-before controversy arises." This book, paired with Pat Scales's Teaching Banned Books (ALA, 2001), would certainly satisfy needs on this topic for librarians and media specialists, and is a great resource for teaching First Amendment rights in the classroom. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Harry Potter has joined Huck Finn as a target for banishment from US schools. In this update of his 1993 discussion of the contentious issues of school censorship and selection, Reichman (history, California State U., Hayward) includes a school system preparedness checklist, ALA Library Bill of Rights, a workbook for selection policy writing, sample policy, guidelines for student publications, advice for treating concerns about library holdings, national resources, and summaries of legal cases (1969-98). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780838907986
  • Publisher: American Library Association
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: 3RD
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Censorship in the Schools 1
What Is Censorship? 2
Censorship and Educational 4
Censorship and Educational Excellencee 6
Censorship or Selection? 6
Academic Freedom 7
The Extent of the Problem 10
Who Censors? 15
Motives for Censorship 17
Self-Censorship 20
Ch. 2 Arenas of Conflict 24
The School Library and the Library Bill of Rights 25
The School Library: Selection Policies 28
The Classroom 30
The Student Press 34
Extracurricular Activities 37
The Internet 38
Ch. 3 Issues in Dispute 43
Politics 44
"Dirty" Words 46
Profanity and Policy 47
Sexuality 51
Gay and Lesbian Literature 52
Sex Education 55
Violence 58
"Secular Humanism" and "New Age" 59
Witchcraft and the Occult 62
Impressions and Harry Potter 66
Horror Novels 68
Creationism 70
Racism and Sexism 72
The Case of Huck Finn 76
Ch. 4 Establishing Selection Policies 80
Who Makes Policy? 81
Basic Components of a Selection Policy 83
Objectives 84
Responsibility for Selection 85
Criteria 86
Procedures 87
Controversial Materials 88
Reconsideration 89
The Completed Policy 92
A Working Document 93
Student Rights and the Student Press 93
Videos and the Internet 94
Ch. 5 What Do We Do if ...? 97
Some General Rules 98
Preparing for a Crisis 101
Dealing with the News Media 102
Handling the Initial Complaint 103
The Reconsideration Committee 104
If They Won't "Play by the Rules" 105
If "The Community Is Up in Arms" 106
If the Challenge Succeeds 107
Ch. 6 What Is the Law? 109
Basic Principles 110
Differing Views and Unresolved Issues 111
School Libraries: The Pico Decision 112
The Lower Courts: An Ambiguous Record 114
The Courts and Huck Finn 116
Religion in the Schools 118
Evolution and Creation 122
Student Rights and Student Press 123
Library and Curricular Censorship after Hazelwood 128
The Internet: Legal Terra Incognita 130
Ch. 7 School System Checklist 133
Preparation 133
Response 134
Ch. 8 Conclusion 137
App. A Access to Resources and Services in the School Library Media Program 139
App. B Free Access to Libraries for Minors 141
App. C Diversity in Collection Development 143
App. D Workbook for Selection Policy Writing 145
App. E Sample Selection Policy 157
App. F Guidelines for Student Publications 166
App. G Dealing with Concerns about Library Resources 173
App. H Selected List of Concerned National Organizations 176
App. I Summaries of Selected Legal Cases 179
App. J A Selected, Annotated Bibliography on the First Amendment and Intellectual Freedom 194
Notes 201
Index 213
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