No Library Has Ever Banned A Book.

Let’s just make something clear here, okay?  Libraries don’t ban books.  Libraries cannot ban books.  No librarian has ever kicked down the door of a publishing house and seized control of the presses to keep a book from being printed.  Libraries don’t go out into the street and search people for contraband literature.

What libraries can do is decide what books they will shelve and what books they will not shelve.  Libraries can also restrict access based on age or other criteria to certain collections.

If a local library chooses not to buy a particular book, or if it decides to pull a book from its shelves after having bought it, that is not banning a book.  That doesn’t keep anyone from buying the book, reading it, giving it away, selling it on e-bay, or whatever.  The book is still available, it just isn’t available to be checked out from that particular library.

Can we please stop equating a local school district’s decision not to circulate The Catcher In The Rye in grade schools with the Nazis executing people for trying to smuggle The Moon Is Down into Holland? Because any parent who desperately wants his 10 year old daughter to read about Holden Caulfield’s extended pity party can just go down to the local Barnes & Nobel and buy her a copy.

About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
This entry was posted in On Writing, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to No Library Has Ever Banned A Book.

  1. MzSusanB says:

    Also, with the rise of the Internet (not to be confused with the Rise of SkyNet), and the Internet as it is available today in the United States, books that are unavailable locally, in physical form, can still be obtained. And I’m sure that those nations which do severely monitor their citizens’ Internet use have censorship programs in place.

    I personally have never gone into a library and ordered a “banned book” from the Interlibrary Loan Program. Would my home library refuse to do it? Hmmmm. Thanks for making me think. Again.

    • Librarians try to follow the codes of the ALA, the first principle of which is to provide access to all requested materials for any registered adult patron that asks. If it isn’t available in the local collection, they will act to obtain it. No reputable Public Library would ever refuse. Librarians have regularly defied restrictive local ordinances and even court orders to provide access to “banned books” requested by patrons. For-profit college libraries and those within institutions such as churches or hospitals are private though, not subject to the rules of the ALA.

  2. Sue says:

    school board libraries do ban books and the US bans the most books ie not letting them into the country

  3. ioniamartin says:

    I love it. I was having a similar argument with someone just the other day.

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