The New Jersey ACLU filed an open records request and uncovered some email documents at libraries that have removed Revolutionary Voices from their shelves.
An active censorship campaign is underway in New Jersey, to remove a book entitled Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie, an anthology of literature and art recommended by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Alliance. A conservative group told the Philadelphia Inquirer l that the book, which contains some sexually explicit material, is "pervasively vulgar, obscene, and inappropriate.”
The book has been removed from two libraries. The
Rancocas Valley Regional High School received a formal challenge,
review committee pursuant to its established policies, and voted to
book off its shelves. The challenge at the high school attracted international
The ACLU found that a public library had also received an informal complaint from the same individual, that staff recommended removal, and that the library commission also voted to remove the title. In contrast, the library did not appear to follow its own policies for handling challenges of controversial materials. The open records documents (see below) show that the reasoning for taking the book off the shelves is because it is "child pornography."
The ACLU has asked other regional libraries whether they have similarly removed the volume from their collections and, if so, whether they followed their deselection policies. A second school library is missing the title, and at present is not replacing it.
The take-home message for libraries, especially public
institutions, is that book removal policies are immensely important.
can protect themselves against exposure to lawsuits, if they adopt
for handling challenges http://www.ala.org/ala/
Thank you to ACLU-NJ for Open Records documents.
OPEN RECORDS REQUEST DOCUMENTS: