Librarians: Banning Books Makes Them More Enticing
Sep. 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.