Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Revolutionary Voices

A big thanks to Josh Olesker of the National Coalition Against Censorship, who confirmed, on the record, that Revolutionary Voices, a GLBT title, has been removed from Burlington County Public Library in New Jersey because "children may find it."

From Olesker's comment to my prior post on this instance of book banning:

"Greetings All: You have the story correctly. "Revolutionary Voices" has been pulled from not just the Rancocas Valley School library but now also from the Burlington County (NJ) library system. It's not just about the children; simply put, book-banning is now a reality in Burlington County, and everybody ought to know about it. We here at the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) have been following the situation for some weeks now and are glad to hear of your concern.

As the NCAC understands the BCLS part of the story, a female member of the 912 group (possibly Mrs. Marinelli) approached the BC Library staff to complain about "Revolutionary Voices" and push for its removal there too, sometime close to when the book was pulled from the RV school library, since "kids might find it there also." Instead of following the BCLS formal challenge procedure, the staff (under director Gail Sweet and library commissioners including Patrick Delany, whose name appeared on and then disappeared from a local 912 group member list earlier this spring) quietly pulled all available copies of the book off the shelves. Today there are no available copies of "Revolutionary Voices" in the BC library system, but it was pulled quietly in the hope that you wouldn't notice.

It is said that "free people read freely." That is not the case today in Burlington County, NJ. For more information and how you might get involved, visit

Joshua Olesker
National Coalition Against Censorship"

In a nutshell, then:

the reconsideration process was bypassed;

the book was removed from the adult nonfiction section of the public library;

the reason was "children could find it."

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy


Chrisbookarama said...

Children could find it? Oh good grief!

Susan Thomsen said...

Please, please, please, Burlington County, can't we think of the children--AND PUT THE BOOK BACK ON THE SHELVES?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure children can find those harlequin romances too but they're not being taken off the shelves... are they? I guess children shouldn't learn about sexuality unless it's approved.

Like the blog, it'd be cool if you could stop by mine sometime.

Trisha said...

I really want to make a sarcastic joke here, but am slightly worried that people may take it seriously. So I'll just say, thanks, Liz, for making sure people hear about this incident.

Jenny said...

Unbelievably stupid. If parents are so worried about this, shouldn't they be responsible for keeping the book out of their kids' hands? DISLIKE.

Miss Julie said...

Does the New Jersey Library Association handle anything of this nature? Who can we complain to about this library staff crumpling in the face of censorship, and becoming censors themselves?

Ugh. So angry. I want to go all River Tam when it comes to censorship.

Jackie said...

This disgusts me. As the daughter of a NJ public library director and a librarian myself, I can honestly say that what they have done goes against every core value of our field. They should be ashamed of themselves, and ashamed that they are no longer truly serving their community. It's just a matter of time before more books are pulled.

TNesbitt said...

I was amazed by the email transcripts posted between Ms. Sweet & Ms. Marinelli - the fact that Sweet demanded the book quietly 'disappear forever' is so cosa nostra that it might be funny if this whole story wasn't so depressing.

DrBMBridge said...

So disturbed by this, it's a slap in the face for everything a library system should stand for. In case anyone is having trouble finding the email thread between the Library System Director and the 912 Group representative who requested the book be removed you can find it here

DrBMBridge said...

Oh and the whole making the book disappear forever bit absolutely horrified me, it's reminiscent of a book burning mentality. Horrible.

DrBMBridge said...

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