I learned that this first week of October happens to be "Banned Books Week", and I wondered what kind of sick people would devote a week to banning books. Then I learned that our county's library celebrated the week, so I figured that maybe something else was involved because libraries do not overtly promote book banning, even though they often do by their policies and purchases.
According to the American Library Association (ALA): "Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. For more than 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community — librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, writers, journalists, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship."
Further research indicates one thing before all others, that the sponsors of this week do not know the true meaning of the word "ban". Either that, or they want the charged term to apply to any concerned parent who wonders why age-inappropriate material is being shared with their elementary school child. Many of the same people who can't give you a working definition for "What is a woman?", have done the same thing with this term. To ban a book you need to officially or legally prohibit a book from being viewed at a library or sold on the market.
In my original article on the local Unbounded program, we saw that all but one of the top 12 controversial (challenged) books of 2022 were available to students still in the elementary. As implemented, the program allowed ten-year-olds access to look at explicit graphic novels and adult content that depicted sex acts in crystal clear detail. The following passage is from one of those books, George Johnson's All Boys Aren't Blue, and if you are prudish I would advise skipping the next paragraph, once read into the Congressional Record by Senator Kennedy:
I put some lube on and got him up on his knees, and I began to slide into him from behind. . . . I pulled out of him and kissed him while he masturbated. . . . He asked me to turn over while he slipped a condom on himself. . . . This was my ass, and I was struggling to imagine someone inside me. . . . he got on top and slowly inserted himself into me. It was the worst pain I think I have ever felt in my life. . . . eventually I felt a mix of pleasure with the pain.
X-rated, pornographic, erotic, obscene, sexually explicit material has ALWAYS been kept out of children's libraries, but according to the ALA, this sort of material should be available to all young kids at not only your local library, but at any school library, or even as it pertains to all those adult-oriented sites on the internet:
The local Mason County District Library (MCDL) fully supports the principles underlying these incredibly careless statements on their website, without claiming they feel otherwise, so they have no problem justifying giving your young child age-inappropriate library materials and unfiltered internet experiences without you knowing about it. And that was shown in their offering the Unbounded program to our county's three public school districts, with great care to avoid parents knowing much about it by stressing each child's privacy concerns.
Celebrating "Banned Books week" to zealots like this appears to empower them to try and widen the audience of the mostly-forgettable titles that are available and being challenged by parents on the basis of their lack of age-appropriateness. The American Library Association (ALA) has previously admitted that most “banned” books are merely challenges and that in a “majority of cases, the books have remained available.”
The Ludington Torch cannot speak for all parents, but we believe that they have their own child's best interests in mind when they go to the bother of making a challenge on objectionable materials being shared with children. One could say that a parent seeing such material being purveyed at their school library (directly or indirectly, such as by Unbound) has a duty to draw the reins on agents of the state who want to confuse, titillate, sexualize, dehumanize, and/or groom young children. This is not banning books; it's only keeping age-appropriate content away from children as we have done throughout history without any issue arising.
The fanatics that celebrate banning books by making a special week about it believe that parents should not question curation decisions made by taxpayer-funded county and school librarians. They are the people who truly want the state to be free to raise and indoctrinate your child.
EPILOG: I commented earlier that the people behind this "Banned Books Week" are engaged in their own form of banning books. Consider: there are estimated to be around 150 million distinct book titles in the world, and your county library would be lucky to have 150 thousand of those on their shelves, a school library may have 15 thousand volumes if they're lucky. Your county library has 1/1000th of all books in existence and is already banning 99.9% of all books. A school library is banning 99.99%.
With this in mind it is statistically significant to observe that 11 of 12 of the most controversial books of 2022 are being offered in a facility that can only shelve 1 of every 1000 books. Famed black conservative Thomas Sowell has authored over 50 books, the MCDL has one. Which is one more than the conservative authors of multiple books known as Steve Bannon and Charlie Kirk. Meanwhile, you can find almost all of the top-selling children books on Amazon in the county library's children's catalog, but if you try to find the Amazon top-selling religious children's books in that catalog, you're out of luck even when the titles do not include the words, bible, God, or Jesus. The presence of censorship and book banning speaks for itself.
Excellent article X. I like your use of math regarding how the library is actually banning books on a daily basis. What a bunch of twisted hypocrites. For ALA to come out and state that their goals are to provide any an all perverted literature being in book form or on the internet to other peoples children is beyond criminal. These people should be prosecuted. If your neighbor was handing out this twisted material and showing pornography to the neighborhood children they would be locked up. So what's the difference between the ALA, Ludington library and the sex offender? Nothing! Well done X.
You have an incredible amount of detail in many of your parody 're-imagings', some subtle, some not so subtle.
The county library's bookworming into area schools seemed subtle enough itself, and so had I not checked out the Memo of Understanding (MOU) and found that it focused on keeping the children's selections confidential, even from parents, I probably wouldn't have researched further and found that Ludington Elementary children (along with MCE and MCC students) had access to some adult material. This put me onto an unexpected path, as I believe that the people behind actual book bans of the past were stupid for objecting to the contents of classics like "To Kill a Mockingbird", "1984", and the like for everyone else.
Parents interested in the appropriateness of what their young children are seeing in their school libraries is a good thing. Librarians selecting poorly written adult-oriented material for kids to look at, whatever the reason, is a bad thing.