Tag Archives: libraries

Banning Books Because of Controversial Ideas

As of recently, the want to ban books from libraries has been increasing. Why is this? Some books contain controversial concerns that the majority of the public does not agree with. However, many people believe that this is a violation of the first amendment: Freedom of Speech.

Does Banning Books from Libraries violate the Freedom of Speech Amendment?

The controversy of banning books ultimately stems from the differing political, societal, and cultural views that people obtain, and feel very strongly about. Part of the public eye feels strongly about keeping books that discuss “touchy” subjects out of libraries, while other parts of the public believe that banning books from libraries would be taking away from our human right of freedom of speech. By banning books from libraries, the information the public can or cannot access would be monitored, which does not allow the public to gain access to all available information and knowledge. Therefore, not allowing people to hear what others have to write can limit the right to speech. As stated in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, “out of the 2,244 U.S. adults surveyed in March 2015, the percentage who felt that certain books should be banned increased by more than half since the last similar study conducted in 2011.”

A large part of the reason why a part of the population believes that some books should be banned is due to cultural morals, like race. For instance, many schools are pushing for the banning of Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. The Biloxi Public School District in Mississippi agrees with this. The school district argued that the book contains slurs that “made some people uncomfortable because of its racist language.” Therefore, this classic novel has been deemed “unacceptable” by the Biloxi Schools, and many other schools too. Without students being able to access this novel, they cannot read it through their library, even though some schools do not like their students reading it, it limits their reading options. Students are unable to learn from the real message of the book, which is not racist, in fact it is the opposite. This same source says that before the book was deemed unacceptable, the same school district described the book as a “classic with a focus on developing an appreciation for how ethical principles or laws of life can help people live successfully.” And this is only one example. Books bring education, and sometimes that means that people need to discuss controversial problems so that people can learn from them. If books never discussed touchy subjects, then people could never learn from their mistakes. This is part of what the first amendment gives people the right to do: discuss debatable ideas. This is why books should not be banned from libraries, and why many people agree that they should not be. In an article titled “Why Your Kid Should Read Banned Books,” the author explains how kids often relate to banned books because the stories feel familiar with their own lives, and that will start conversation. Reading these books can help people learn and they can help people “define their own values and opinions of content.” People have every right to be able to do that.

All in all, banning books from libraries does violate the first amendment: Freedom of Speech. Although some books in libraries contain argumentative ideas, those ideas often help people learn. When there are issues brought up in books, the solution should be education. In order to educate people about these issues, it is crucial to speak about them. You cannot acquire information about a subject without hearing about it from a source, and many people go to libraries and use books for that specific purpose. So, granted libraries are still banning books, they should really consider whether they are banning books solely because they touch on matters that not everyone agrees with, or if the material should really truly be banned, because often times they are taking away from a person’s database of knowledge. A person has to know what they are talking about in order to speak, so taking away the right to books in libraries would violate freedom of speech.


Works Cited

Calvert, Clay. “Why Are Libraries Still Banning Books?” Newsweek, 23 Apr. 2016, www.newsweek.com/how-come-libraries-are-still-banning-books-379958.

McMahon, Regan. “Why Your Kid Should Read Banned Books.” Common Sense Media: Ratings, Reviews, and Advice, Common Sense Media, 3 Sept. 2018, http://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/why-your-kid-should-read-banned-books.

“Poll Shows Growing Support for Book Banning.” Edited by Henry Reichman, Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Sept. 2015, file:///home/chronos/u-5544403311d82ad7e26aaad88a38032eee6198c1/Downloads/525-281-PB%20(6).pdf.

Strauss, Valerie. “Analysis | Top 10 Books in 2016 Most Challenged in Schools and Libraries. No. 9 Is a Series Written by Bill Cosby.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 16 Oct. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/10/16/top-10-books-in-2016-most-challenged-in-schools-and-libraries-no-9-is-a-series-written-by-bill-cosby/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.182bd6e29067.


Should any book be banned from access in libraries just for the fact that the ideas behind them are controversial?

Within our society and as people with many different points of view often times we want our own thought to be understood by everyone else. Although, at times debate and discussion are less emphasized and more focused on the simple desire to force others to conform to the same ideas as our own. This can be seen in instances like schools where they are deciding if they should listen to the angry parents and ban Harry Potter, a notable book, for being related to wizardry and satanism. So, we have to wonder, should we ban any books that might have some controversy with how we want to raise our children?
Is silencing the voice of the writer and practically stripping them of their first amendment right? Nytimes raises one question to the issue. How do the students feel about books being banned? After All, the students are the ones that will be reading the books not the parents, so shouldn’t the students be able to decide what they want to read? For the most part, students answered the question like Erin, an 18 year old in highschool, did by stating “The world is huge, and diverse. Books, whether fiction or nonfiction, open a little part of that world to us. …I think the books helped me to grow up, to learn about the world”. On the other hand how are we to know if the kids are ready to read some books that might require a little bit more maturity or context. We can’t just throw 4th graders into a translated version of Mein Kampf. Thoughtco thnks the answer is just providing a supporting hand if the students need it, like the introduction to the use of the N word in older literature. PBS sees every book as a learning experience and any book that is banned for sensitive material is simply avoiding the problem. Learning new information along with the context in which it is delivered will help us grow as individuals and come to better ideas. Justice Louis D. Brandeis would agree with the fact of having no books banned as seen by a famous case of Whitney vs. California Justice where he stated
*377 “Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
In essence stating that free speech should be protected and if some things may not sound right, then we can talk to change it. In the end, books are meant for spreading ideas in a way that can sometimes be easier than speeches or other sources. Why not use them as tools for learning and enlightenment?


Works Cites:
“What To Teach Students About Censorship And Book Banning In America.” ThoughtCo. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.
Whitney v. California [1927] 274 U.S. 357 No. 3 (Supreme Court of United States)
Schulten, Katherine. “Are There Books That Should Be Banned From Your School Library?.” The Learning Network. N. p., 1285. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.
Strum, Lora, and Lora Strum. “Banning Books Like ’13 Reasons Why’ Makes It Harder For Teens To Open Up To Adults, Author Says.” PBS NewsHour. N. p., 2017. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.

Should libraries be able to regulate books?

There are many reasons as to why books are being banned from public and school libraries.  All these reasons are racial issues, encouragement of “damaging” lifestyles, blasphemous dialog, sexual situations, violence, witchcraft, religious affirmation, political bias, and age inappropriate. The most popular for books to banned is having sexual situations, age appropriate, and religious affirmation.  Fifty Shades of Grey and To Kill a Mockingbird are examples are banned books.  In these books, the material used in it is obscenite.  According to the Freedom of Speech,  people have the right to read what other people write and express themselves.  Island trees school district vs. Pico set the standards of banning books from the libraries.  

Although with the libraries regulating books people don’t get to have that right.  Even though, they get to read books without those challenging they don’t get to read the ones that were banned.  So under the freedom of speech is it right for libraries to regulate books?  Some books aren’t meant for children to read so libraries regulate books to protect the children’s mind.  A pro for libraries to regulate books is that it will protect children from what is in the book.  A con is that they should be able to read books to express themselves.  In overall, libraries regulating books isn’t a bad thing because it helps children reading the wrong type of material.