Public Libraries Shouldn’t Ban Books [PHIL-OSOPHY]
To begin with, racist, sexist or homophobic books should never be prohibited and denied. Censorship, thought control, or blotting out books is never the cure-all.
However, having critical and courageous discussions about racism in the books is both essential and needful, so teachers shouldn't remove them from classrooms. In fact, educators could use these books as teachers' tools for addressing controversial issues.
That said, some people say get rid of the classics, meaning the great ones we all read in school, so that we can move away from those authors and bring in newer books that address racist, sexist and homophobic references in today's vernacular.
The concept of public libraries goes back to ancient societies. One of the wisest reasons behind starting public libraries wasn't to benefit the wealthy, but rather, government leadership recognized that the powerful meaning of culture and intellectual energy was lacking in the lives of the commoner. So they adopted the philosophy that by lifting the average citizen in understanding and knowledge, the rest of the nation prospers as well.
With regard to banning books, I just noticed that New York Public Library will not pull "canceled" Dr. Seuss titles because, they say, they do not censor books. One of the foremost library systems in the nation, the NYC Public Library will keep six controversial Dr. Seuss books on the shelves and will continue to circulate the books – as long as nobody steals them. Now that the publisher said they won't publish more copies of the books, thieves are looking to shoplift any copies as prices for them soar online.
The NYC Public Library does not ban books, thankfully. But other public libraries do. Once a challenge is made, the library can either choose to ban the book from its premises or deny the challenge.
Banning books should never happen in a free society. Is it okay to stop children from reading inappropriate themes like pornography and adult themes? It's absolutely appropriate and expected, but withholding is not the same as banning.
In order to mend and heal our problems, banning the black and white print isn't the solution.
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.