Opinion: Is it really pornographic? We should proceed with caution when banning books
Book banning has reached its highest level in decades — but we are banning entire books based on a paragraph of content
As a local teacher and book review committee member, I feel Rep. Karianne Lisonbee’s op-ed, “What you should know about the new law against pornographic books in your child’s school” mischaracterized the issue.
I agree that pornography is harmful. But can we also agree that the dangers of the social internet are orders of magnitude greater than cherry-picked paragraphs from a few books only read by a handful of students?
I’m no lawyer, but I read the memorandum from the Utah Attorney General’s Office on the legal framework for school libraries. It clarifies that determining whether questionable content outweighs literary merit can’t be based solely on small portions of the book or community: “The work must be considered as a whole, and must be looked at through the lens of whether a reasonable person in America would think it has redeeming value.”
There’s a fine line between protecting a child’s innocence and sheltering them in naïveté. Well-written literature helps readers expand their mind and heart in memorable, safe ways. Instead of vilifying librarians, let’s empower them as tour guides of things as they really are!
Homework for legislators who signed the letter: Publish your own subjective list of “top 10 novels every student should read before graduating.” All literary merit, nothing objectionable please!