Friday, November 16, 2007

Appeal keeps book out of school library

I gave a talk during Banned Books Week to some journalism and composition students at my high school, and it's always good to reacquaint oneself with the notion and the purpose of intellectual freedom. Statistically, the overwhelming number of challenges are brought by parents, but 8% of challenges are by the patron themselves. Curiously, the news is never, to my recollection, that the patron refuses to return a challenged book, so as to remove the book in question from the collection, and to necessarily keep the offending book from other patrons. In effect, fifteen year old Lysa Harding, of Brookwood High School, is not only attempting to keep her own eyes from ever encountering the book, she is also acting as censor for all the other students in the building as well, a pretty officious and judgemental role she has assumed at her young age.

Miss Harding must know that her informal challenge will, pending her appeal's unsuccessful outcome, result in the Brookwood High School Library simply replacing the book with the donated copies they received. And while Miss Harding has offered to pay the $25 fine for Sandpiper, does she not realize the notoriety of her situation has only served to increase the attention to Sandpiper, and perhaps even the books increased sales, library circulation, and readership, the consequent outcomes of cases such as these?

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