Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Banned Books Week

BBW is over for another year (wasn't that the name of a magazine for large women?). Banned books goes on all year at my library because banning begins at selection by the staff, not complaints from the patron. Today, I picked up a magazine, AudioFile June July 2007. Glancing through it, I noticed it had a religious section, so I decided to see if my public library had any of the religious audiobooks reviewed in the issue. The first one I tried was a James Dobson, Focus on the Family issue. Didn't surprise me that they didn't have it. Even though his company produces top-notch audio and video, he is politically a conservative--an anathema at this tax supported, public library**. So I read the review of R.C. Sproul's audio book The Holiness of God read by Grover Gardner (6.5 hours, unabridged). Reviewer noted that the print version published 20 years ago had become a standard work, and that the audio did justice "to a deep work on a subject often taken for granted."

I bring up the catalog again (which doesn't work well and is an aggravation) and punch in "Sproul, R.C." One item--a contribution to a King James Bible version. A search of Amazon.com brings up over 200 titles, because Sproul, a Presbyterian, is extremely prolific (note: his son uses "R.C. Sproul, Jr," although they don't have the same name). Although he focuses on theological themes, he has also written for children and youth, and I think has tried his hand at fiction. He has written books on home schooling, cultural issues, biography, Bible studies, The Westminster Confession, marriage, apologetics, the reformation, death, and the life of Jesus. He is a well known as a Christian author, teacher and speaker. There are a few duplicates on the Amazon listing--some titles are published both in Spanish and English; several have audio; some are both paperback and hard cover.

However, I counted 46 distinct titles with publication dates between 2000 and 2008 (it's possible some could be his son's--hard to tell). Forty-six titles in eight years, and Upper Arlington Public Library couldn't find a spot on the shelf or in the budget for even one! Richard Dawkins, the non-religious bigot who sees religion as a human construct and the source of much evil in the world is much more acceptable at UAPL. His Blind watchmaker has 3 copies; The God delusion has 7 print copies and one audio.

And this, dear readers, is what I call banned books.
------------------

** If you check the UAPL catalog by publisher, you will find Focus on the Family, all from the early to mid-1990s--the library staff was a bit less "focused" and rigid in those days.

5 comments:

LadyBugCrossing said...

That's so funny - I went to college with RC Sproul Jr. He was one fun kid!!!

I'll have to read some of his and his dad's books.
LBC

Norma said...

Let me know if your PL staff is more open minded than mine.

Anonymous said...

If you suggest these titles are you shot down?

Norma said...

I one time notified them that their newest book on Lutherans was 40 years old (there are 3 Lutheran churches in the community, one is the largest in the state), and they added one title.

Anonymous said...

As a Collection Development librarian, that baffles me-- and this is coming from someone who's not religious at all.