In our final Banned Books Week 2007 installment, we look at two works that were removed from shelves this year, stark reminders of the challenges of freedom.
Last February, public and school librarians noticed that the very first hint of spring was missing from their magazine shelves: Sports Illustrated’s Annual Swimsuit Edition.
In a statement released in March, Time Warner spokesman Rick McCabe said the company decided to withhold shipment of the swimsuit issue to libraries because they had received complaints in the past about the issue being too “risque.” American Library Association president Leslie Berger, called the decision by Time Warner’s decision “patronizing and paternalistic in the extreme.” Other libraries around the country concurred and were outraged at Time Warner’s supposition that the company knew best about what libraries wanted (or didn’t want) in their collections.
But librarian outrage isn’t always consistent or universal. Just two months prior, The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, was announced as the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Newbery Medal for children’s literature.
“‘Lucky’ is a perfectly nuanced blend of adventure, survival (emotional and physical) and hilarious character study… as well as a blueprint for a self-examined life,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Jeri Kladder. But in some libraries, the appearance of the word “scrotum” on the first page of the book was too much, even for an award-winning book, and several libraries removed it from the shelves entirely.