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ERIC Number: ED345721
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Feb
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Censorship and Child-Choice State Book Award Programs.
Storey, Dee
A survey was conducted of randomly selected school library media specialists participating in the Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Texas state "child choice" book award programs to identify any censorship taking place in these programs, and the attitudes of the library media specialists toward such censorship. In most child-choice state book award programs, children and adults nominate books to be placed in competition following specified guidelines. A preliminary list of books is formulated by a selection committee of adults, who pare down the number of titles and arrive at a master list that is distributed throughout the state. To make the selection of titles easier, many book lists are provided to librarians with annotations that include the price, literary genre, and a one-sentence summary. In some state programs, these lists also indicate whether the book would be a good choice for reading aloud. In a number of programs, the master list of nominated titles comes with a disclaimer designed to handle problems that could arise in different areas of the state because of different local values and beliefs. Thus, the list that the children are permitted to vote on can be heavily preselected. The data analyzed here are based on responses received from 55 media specialists from each state, a 20% return rate on the questionnaire. Responses to an open-ended statement on the questionnaire showed that censorship was in operation all five state programs: it was expected and accepted. Problem areas in which censorship was condoned included unacceptable language, subject matter, and situations, and contemporary realistic fiction. Censorship practices identified by the study resulted from the preselection by adults of the books to be voted on by the children. Such "silent censorship" was found to be influenced by teachers' concerns about the suitability of materials for reading aloud; librarians' concerns about the possibility of offending teachers; the omission of controversial books from the master list by the selection committee; and the practice of expurgation of the original book for a paperback edition. However, not all of the respondents condoned the censorship in these programs, and research to determine what librarians and media specialists do to prevent censorship would be helpful. (4 references) (MAB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kansas; Nebraska; South Carolina; Texas