Thursday, September 30, 2010

Radical Militant Librarians

James A. Bauch accuses librarians and the American Library Association of being "goodie-two-shoes" who are depriving Americans of their civil liberties by banning books. Mr. Bauch is referring to a full-page article in the September issue of AARP Bulletin which lists books that have been banned because they are "irreligious," "offensive," "too political," or have "too much sex." He finds the American Library Association's list of banned books "totally unacceptable."

I sympathize with Mr. Bauch, except for one thing: The ALA is not banning the books...they are promoting them. The ALA and librarians in general regularly put their necks out to ensure that Americans have the freedom to receive information (which has been determined to be a component of "freedom of speech"). In fact, librarians have been called flaming liberals and terrorists for their efforts to protect the right to read. Librarians have been challenging the Patriot Act for several years now, trying to ensure that law enforcement cannot see what books you have checked out at the library. Four librarians from Connecticut refused to comply with a National Security Letter and filed a lawsuit against the FBI, which was fishing for any patrons who might have checked out any questionable books. FBI agents complained about the "radical militant librarians." Librarians are protecting you from Big Brother, Bauch, and they proudly wear the "radical militant" badge. You should be thanking the librarians, whose motto is "Scimus quae legis, et non dicimus," or "We know what you read, and we're not saying."

To be fair to Mr. Bauch, he was not the only person who misunderstood that the Banned Books article was about books that the ALA is encouraging you to read, or at least encouraging you to have the right to read if you choose. The ALA's office of Intellectual Freedom was bombarded with complaints about the banned books. They responded with an article titled, "Relax AARP Bulletin Readers, Librarians Do Not Celebrate Book Banning."

Finally, I would like to point out that September 25 through October 2, 2010, is ALA's Annual Banned Books Week, so go read something controversial!

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