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Journalism professor debunks ‘book bans’ claim

A journalism professor and media critic recently criticized the claim of widespread “book bans” in public libraries and schools.

“Chicken Little is a voice of reason compared to the shrill voices warning that limiting the access of second graders to sexualized content somehow threatens the republic,” DePauw University Professor Jeffrey McCall wrote recently.

Among the loudest voices are the American Civil Liberties Union and PEN America. The latter group falsely claimed there were widespread book bans, a claim debunked by a Heritage Foundation study.

Professor McCall wrote:

The reality is that the so-called banned books listed by the ALA and PEN America are still widely available for purchase and in countless libraries around the country. Parents who want their kids exposed to certain kinds of sexualized or cultural messages can still acquire those books and read them to their kids as bedtime stories. They just don’t have the “right” to have the taxpayer money of schools and public libraries used to put that content in front of other people’s kids and attempt to shut up opposing voices.

He noted that librarians already make decisions about what books to buy and local citizens deserve a voice.

“Selection decisions are made all the time by professional educators and librarians, and most of those decisions are made sensibly and meet the needs of the communities they serve,” he wrote. “But the selectors are not infallible and aren’t entitled to have the final say in all situations. Heck, even NFL referees are subject to having their decisions challenged, and reversed when a bad call is made.”

He wrote that a better discussion is needed about content in libraries and parents who have concerns should not be demonized.

“This national discussion should be about proper curation of reading materials in schools and libraries,” McCall wrote. “Curation means some materials get included and some don’t.”

Read the full essay.

IMAGE: DePauw University/College Fix edits

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