Censorship and Selection Essay

1595 Words 7 Pages
Introduction Censorship is a dirty word to information professionals. Attempts by individuals or groups to restrict the public from reading, hearing or viewing certain materials due to their content, is enough to send librarian's and organizations such as the American Library Association, to the proverbial battle field. However, information professionals from all fields have to make choices about what to include and what not to include in their particular library's collection. How are these selections made? What causes one item to be selected instead of another? The distinction between censorship and selection is infinitesimal, dependent mainly upon the role of the individuals involved. As an information professional, who inherently is …show more content…
22). One form of silent censorship occurs out of fear of challenges (Kampen & Spino, 2007, p. 223). Allen (2007) notes the difficult balance an information professional must make when making selection decisions. Information professionals working in a school must contend with fear of reprisals from those within the school system. (p. 5). Author Norma Fox Mazer (1997) relates how a principal of a school allowed the fear of possible reprisals from the community to cancel Mazer's scheduled visit which had been arranged for nearly a year. As well as another incident where Mazer and another author were scheduled to visit a school, but were asked to not discuss a particular book. (p. 46-48). Another form of silent censorship occurs when the information professional decides for personal reasons or “perceived community standards” ( Kampen & Spino, 2007, p. 223) to not select an item. Staples (1996) discusses how some books 'disappear' (para. 6) from library shelves, either due to a parent who does not want to go through the process of a challenge, or a librarian who fears for their job. Information professionals have to be ever more selective about what they purchase for their collections due to ever decreasing budgets. Publishers and authors, cognizant of possible issues with certain topics and words, are also much more careful about what they accept for publication and what they write about. (paras.
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