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What Books Would You Ban From The Public Library (even if you’re against banning books)?

March 29, 2022

If you’re reading this, you’re probably against the idea of banning books in public libraries. At least, you won’t admit out loud that you want to ban books. I rarely meet anybody who’ll admit that he/she wants to ban books.

I’m pretty sure you’re against banning books because according to a recent poll, hardly anybody in the United States wants to ban books from libraries anymore. Last week the American Library Association put out a poll about voter opinions on banning books from the public libraries. It’s tough for the ALA to get coverage even on a slow news day, so with wars breaking out and economies collapsing, nobody paid attention.

The last time I saw the ALA make news was a few years ago when they renamed the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for children’s books because her Little House on the Prairie books had a few racist references back in the 1930s. That made news, and everybody had an opinion about it. If you throw race into a topic, it will always make news. The next time the ALA wants to make news again, they should just throw race into their poll, and it will make the news and everybody will have an opinion.

Anyway, everybody knows not to trust polling anymore. If there’s any group that’s less popular than lawyers or politicians or journalists or Hollywood celebrities, it’s pollsters. Still, pollsters have to make a living, and the American Library Association wants to try to make news or raise awareness, so here we go!

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https://www.ala.org/advocacy/voters-oppose-book-bans-libraries

  • By a substantial 42-point margin, voters oppose efforts to have books removed from their local public libraries because some people find them offensive or inappropriate and do not think young people should be exposed to them: 71% oppose, 29% support. Majorities of Democrats (75%), independents (58%), and Republicans (70%) are opposed.
  • Parents also oppose efforts to remove books from their local public libraries by a significant 20-point margin: 60% oppose, 40% support.

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I’m a bit skeptical. All this poll shows is that democrats and republicans are less likely to admit that there are books they’d ban if they had the chance. At least Independents are more likely to be honest about it.

Hey, I’m opposed to banning books too, but I have my limits. I’d probably ban Massage Parlor II by Jennifer Sills if I had the chance. In the interests of full disclosure, I obtained a copy of Massage Parlor II from one of my older brothers when I was a teenager in the late 1970s, so I can’t blame the public library (or the Ivy League, like I usually do) for that.

If I saw a copy of Massage Parlor II at the library, I might suggest that it was inappropriate for a public library. I’ve heard that Massage Parlor I was kind of inappropriate as well. You know, I’m pretty sure the whole series is inappropriate!

Once I started banning books, I’d probably go on a banning spree. I’d ban 1984 by George Orwell and 2001: a Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke. I remember both 1984 and 2001, and both books got those years completely wrong. I’d probably ban those two books from school libraries if I could too. I don’t want students reading 1984 and 2001:A Space Odyssey and believe that 1984 and 2001 were really like that.

I’d also ban children’s books written by celebrities. In fact, any book that a celebrity writes should be banned from public libraries, just because. The exception would be a celebrity who became famous for writing books. That doesn’t happen very often, but I’d make allowances for that.

And anything by James Patterson? Banned. And anything written by James Patterson and a co-author? Double banned! Banning books by James Patterson would save a lot of space in the public libraries for books that are actually good.

I could probably think of a bunch of other books to ban, but I’ll stop there. I don’t want to get carried away. I think I’ve been reasonable so far. Besides, I’m against banning books anyway. And so are you.

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What do you think? I know you’re against banning books, but if you absolutely had to ban books against your will, what books would you ban?

5 Comments
  1. My mother actually destroyed Orwell’s 1984 before I’d finished reading it. I was nineteen and it wasn’t even my book. I had to waste a chunk of my minuscule college grant buying another copy for the person who’d lent it to me. She opened it at the scene with the rats.

    • I appreciate a mother who can ban a book before I even get to it. It’s too bad, though, that she destroyed a friend’s copy instead of one that belonged to a library.

  2. I’d ban Forrest Gump. Worst book ever written. It shouldn’t just be banned, it should not even be allowed to be a book.

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