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Librarians: Banning Books Makes Them More Enticing

September 13, 1995

CHICAGO (AP) _ WARNING! Do not read the next paragraph.

If that made you want to read on, you may have proved the American Library Association’s point: that banning books just makes teen-agers want to read them.

``I think that’s the best sell we could do for a book,″ said Pat Scales, library media specialist at Greenville (S.C.) Middle School and a member of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee.

It makes sense to Patty Hart, a 16-year-old junior at St. Scholastica High School: ``At this age ... you’re trying to gain your own independence.″

Classmate Yara Prieto, who’s reading ``Like Water for Chocolate,″ agreed. ``If they wanted to ban that book, I’d want to read it more,″ she said this week.

As the ALA prepares for its annual Banned Books Week, Sept. 23-30, when it publicizes censorship attempts, it released a report on the 760 challenges to school and library materials reported to its Office of Intellectual Freedom in 1994.

Two-thirds of the challenges were in schools. Most reflected concerns with sex and the occult. Challenged titles ranged from Hans Christian Andersen’s ``The Little Mermaid″ to Howard Stern’s ``Private Parts.″

When a book was challenged at a school near Scales’ several years ago, the work had a renaissance.

``We couldn’t keep it in,″ she recalled. ``The public library told me they just had a huge waiting list.″

The book _ Christopher Collier’s ``My Brother Sam Is Dead″ _ had not been a hit beforehand. It’s about the Revolutionary War.

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