The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Taking a break from work, here. A writer friend sent a link re. an attempted book banning:

ALA/American Libraries, June 2009

This is interesting to me for several reasons. First of all, Baby Be-bop is my favorite of the Francesca Lia Block books I've read. I love it! Second of all, I don't think the attempted-banners can have actually read it, because one of the accusations seems to be that it's racist. WTF??? They probably just skimmed it for objectionable words. *

Other thoughts about book-banners: If it wasn't for a couple of issues, these particular b-banners would be almost pathetically endearing in their bumbling attempts. I've had b-banners turn their sights on my books. Get this: my first book is still passed around on the b-banners' lists, even though the book has been out of print since 2001 or something like that. I notice Baby Be-Bop is out of print, too. It shouldn't be, but it is. I don't know why the b-banners noticed it all of a sudden. Probably somebody's kid brought it home from the library.

I truly believe that most b-banners don't read. They clearly have no idea what's on the YA (and sometimes midgrade) shelves in any bookstore or library. All you have to do is walk down the aisle and pick up a book to see the reams of "objectionable" stuff that's out there. You can even just look at the covers, or read the first page, and right away you know that the book would be considered objectionable.

So anyway, the point is that these b-banners are going after a book that's a single yellowed spine clinging to library shelves across the country, next to thousands of books that they'd consider just as bad if not worse--books that move daily and in massive quantities across bookstore and library counters. (I don't like to say that, because I love Baby Be-bop, much more than almost all of the massive-quantity books.)

These b-banners look to me to be either amateurish, or doing it for publicity (maybe somebody's running for office?). The really good b-banners work behind the scenes. They quietly hassle the librarian--especially if it's in a school library. Maybe they don't get the book banned, just set back someplace where kids have to ask for it, so that the kids don't know it's there anymore and therefore are never going to ask for it. Or maybe the b-banners hassle a school administrator, which can make the librarian's job unpleasant. Next time, given the choice, the librarian may pick a safer book to buy. Why wouldn't they? Libraries never have enough money for books, anyway. Librarians already can't possibly buy all the books they'd like for their collections. Who wants a hassle that could cost your job, and/or money that should have gone to buy more books for your patrons, and/or bad feelings with patrons and/or people you have to work with?

These Baby Be-bop people are messing up. They're bringing publicity to a book that they don't want read. They're raising support for the library and city they're fighting against. They're using all their resources against one book, when they could be quietly scaring librarians into avoiding future purchases. They need to go to banning school, the one the slick, secretive master b-banners graduated from.**

It would almost be funny, except that, unfortunately, the couple of issues I mentioned above are major. There's the whole dictating-what-other people-get-to-read thing (which I don't take at all lightly, although I'm speaking of it lightly). And then there's the fact that they're suing, which costs the city money that should go to other things. People of West Bend, Wisconsin, if you find your monthly fee for trash pickup increasing, blame these book banners.

Anyhoo, back to work.

*Or maybe they scanned it into the computer, where they ran it through an objectionable-word-finding program.

**You'd think I'd be leery of saying this where a book-banner might see it and go, "D'oh! I need to change my tactics." But I'm telling you, they don't read. That's why they pass around lists that somebody came up with ten, fifteen, years ago. Most of the time they can't even manage to make it through a book they want to ban--you can tell by what they say about it.

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