Let’s look at this Top Ten List and the commonalities about the challenged books side-by-side with the idea of libraries as “temples of public education and freedom of thought.” According to the list, all but Eleanor & Park and Little Bill were challenged for sexual explicitness—Eleanor & Park was challenged for offensive language and Little Bill was challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author. Four of the challenged books on the list have been challenged for their LGBTQ content/themes. Six of the books are national award winners. NCTE has participated in efforts to defend five of the books.
How can a library be a “temple[s] of public education and freedom of thought” if its books, like these, are removed or kept away from young people because someone finds them offensive? How can children open their minds through books and learn, if books are taken off the library shelves?
I don’t think they can. NCTE doesn’t think they can.
If you are experiencing a challenge to a book or other instructional material, please let the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center know. We are here to help as you see fit.
By the way, today we’re celebrating book mobiles and nothing could represent the spirit of a library as a “temples of public education and freedom of thought” than Roberto Murillo Martin Gomez’s Columbian book mobile.