Let readers try the banned book

Tom Jackson
Mar 23, 2010

Librarians like to hold up the banner against censorship, talking about something called “freedom to read.” There’s even an American Library Association site devoted to the Freedom to Read Foundation. In fact, the ALA’s “Banned Books Week” concluded Oct. 4.

So what happens when libraries actually have to deal with a banned book?

There are very few books that can be described that way in 2008, but I’ve found one. It’s a new book, “The Jewel of Medina” by Sherry Jones, an historical novel about one of the Prophet Mohammed’s wives, Aisha. Random House was supposed to put it out, but dropped it after protests from Muslims. It’s been published in this country by Beaufort Books. Muslim literary critics have firebombed the house of the British publisher.

Are local libraries rallying behind the book?

Well, it depends on the meaning of “local.”

A search on CLEVNET, a local library network, reveals that the Cleveland, Elyria, Shaker Heights, Lorain and Cleveland Heights libraries have duly ordered copies, although none have reached the shelves yet. The Sandusky,  Huron and Bellevue libraries, CLEVNET’s local members, have yet to order a copy of the book, CLEVNET says. Cuyahoga County’s public library, currently campaigning for a levy, doesn’t list the book in its online catalog.

Comments

Anonymous

Gee, this is ironic especially when you guys sensor our blogs.

Anonymous

From Matt W to Tom J.
I'm sure you will serve the biased machine well, but I won't be reading you after my subscription runs out!

Anonymous

Censorship has turned in to No rights to free speech. I remember see individuals bring dragged out of Bush Events because they had anti-Bush shirts on. I have seen people tasered after asking the wrong question. The problem is in this case the wrong question was the right one. The question our major press will not ask. Amy Goodman and her news crew at Democracy Now were arrested, held, and all charges were dropped. Censorship? What about Consolidation?

Anonymous

Censorship has turned in to No rights to free speech. I remember seeing individuals being dragged out of Bush Events because they had anti-Bush shirts on. I have seen people tasered after asking the wrong question. The problem is in this case the wrong question was the right one. The question our major press will not ask. Amy Goodman and her news crew at Democracy Now were arrested, held, and all charges were dropped. Censorship? What about Consolidation?

Anonymous

Dear Baton,
OK, I give up. What "hypocracy" have I committed here?

Anonymous

This column just happened to demonstrate the irony and the hypocracy. You espouse the reading of "banned books" yet you censor my posts that contain truths penned by Obama.

I Posted the following on your "Troopergate" column after numerous posts of mine were removed. Those posts were making a contrast between Palins "truths" and Obama's lies.

Register Censorship Shows DEEP DEEP bias once again wrote on Oct 16, 2008 6:32 AM:

" I posted quotes from Obama's books with and without personal commentary 5 times on this blog and each time they were removed.

That would suggest to me that freedom of speech, which the RAGister so vehemently espouses, only works if you believe in double-standards.

You have once again proven fairness and balance are not within the RAGister bill of rights; except where convenient for them and their agenda. "

Tom, You caved; your cover has been blown and your liberal underwear are showing, now to mention both sides of your face.

Anonymous

This column just happened to demonstrate the irony and the hypocracy. You espouse the reading of "banned books" yet you censor my posts that contain truths penned by Obama.

I posted several comments on your "Troopergate" blog. My posts were contrasting the truths of Palin and Obama's lies. It wasn't long before the post was removed. I posted it again and it was removed again along with 5 subsequent posts. All were civil and thought provoking. The following was my final post:

Register Censorship Shows DEEP DEEP bias once again wrote on Oct 16, 2008 6:32 AM:

" I posted quotes from Obama's books with and without personal commentary 5 times on this blog and each time they were removed.

That would suggest to me that freedom of speech, which the RAGister so vehemently espouses, only works if you believe in double-standards.

You have once again proven fairness and balance are not within the RAGister bill of rights; except where convenient for them and their agenda. "

Tom, You caved and your liberal underwear are showing along with both sides of your face.

Anonymous

Mr. Jackson, you made an excellent point. Libraries contend they buy books based also on patron’s requests and suggestions. Sandusky, Huron and Port Clinton patrons should start E-mailing/calling their respective libraries with "Aisha" as a purchase suggestion.

Books are not banned in the US. They are though in communist countries--like China, Korea and Cuba. The ALA creates the false perception that the US "bans" or "censors" books. Libraries commemorate this false event by displaying the books the ALA claims have been "banned" or "censored"! If they were, how could the books be displayed publicly in a library?!

Anonymous

Books are bought by libraries based on patrons' requests or based on whether people would actually check out the book in question. There are plenty of books that local libraries, such as Sandusky Library, don't have and that more urban libraries do have; this is not because they don't carry 'banned' or controversial books, but because they are small libraries which won't randomly buy books that no one will read. I bet if enough people wanted to read "Aisha", the local libraries would buy it.
In addition, you could simply order the book through Clevnet and pick it up at your local library. Certainly local libraries don't censor the books their patrons read; it's bad for business.