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Libraries at Georgetown University Remove Novels That Offend Some Students

Libraries at Georgetown University Remove Novels That Offend Some Students

“expected the university to remove books that are ‘problematic,’ a subjective term the report uses six times”

In a situation like this, why aren’t the people who complain ever told to shut up and go away?

The College Fix reports:

Georgetown libraries remove dozens of novels that offend some students

When the staff at an “independent journal of politics and world affairs” complain to Georgetown University officials, they get results.

Administrators removed “all but a few books” from the McCarthy and Reynolds libraries after The Georgetown Review asked why they had so many books marked by “racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, fetishization, and pedophilia,” the publication reported in early February. The story was picked up last week by The Hoya.

Review staff came across the books, which appear to be all 20th century novels, while attending a “general body meeting” of the campus political satire group The Hilltop Show in McCarthy Library last month.

A Hilltop staffer soon “found more problematic books” in Reynolds Library, “portraying Christianity and the Priesthood as evil.” (The article notes that Hilltop’s “Research Team” contributed to the report.)

Only two books are identified by name in the article body: Cherokee, which contains “blatantly racist language degrading Native Americans,” and Death of an Informer. The article is bylined by Editors-in-Chief Jacob Adams and Justin Drewer.

Both libraries were designated as “social and study spaces” when the Southwest Quad was built in 2003 and have no formal checkout system, McCarthy Hall Community Director Danielle Melidona told the Review. The originals were donated by an alum, while “students have contributed to the libraries by donating their old books for various classes or personal collections” since then.

While emphasizing that the Review “does not support censorship in any form,” the publication makes clear that it expected the university to remove books that are “problematic,” a subjective term the report uses six times. Staffers literally judged the books by their covers…

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Comments

When is the book burning scheduled?

We do not support censorship, we simply require it.

Upcoming headline: “Georgetown administration: Jewish students are ‘problematic.'”

I don’t want to hear another word from the library community that they don’t promote censorship after stunts like this. Where’s their professional association?

    George_Kaplan in reply to rochf. | February 14, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Try the American Library Association (http://www.ala.org/). The problem is while censorship is held to be bad, gatekeeping is supported. The difference between the two concepts? Largely a matter of PR. Decisions on excluding Playboy magazines or Christian material or racist novel or Young Earth Creationist scientific literature or … are considered goodbad depending on what is excluded.

    While offensive material is officially supposed to be found in library collections, it seems like it has to be approved forms of offensiveness – Mein Kampf and anti-semitism for instance.

      Not the same organization, but one library organization has already removed Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a prestigious award for children’s books. Her “crime”? Her work
      “includes expressions of stereotypical attitudes inconsistent with ALSC’s core values” based on Wilder’s portrayal of black people and Native Americans.”
      It’s pathetic.
      I fully expect a “Fahrenheit 451” event sometime in the future if this crap isn’t nipped in the bud.

    Nora in NC in reply to rochf. | February 16, 2020 at 8:42 am

    I’m a public librarian – have been for 20+ years. I’m also a member of ALA (only because my employer pays for it). It’s incredibly difficult to be a conservative in this field. I try as much as possible to check the more outrageous impulses of my “progressive” peers but it’s nothing more than a holding action. I fear for the future of public libraries, which can play a vital role in a healthy society.

    A few things:

    1. It’s not clear from either article in this post but I have a sneaking suspicion that these “libraries” are “leave one, take one” donation shelves located in residence halls and not part of the formal library system at G’town. It’s still disappointing that students at an elite university feel free to censor other’s’ reading choices, and the admin acquiesces.

    2. The Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) is a division of ALA, and their removal of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from one of their awards was approved by ALA.

    3. ALA membership is declining and its financial situation is dire. They announced at their midwinter meeting last month that they’re over $2 million in the hole. They’ve moved out of their swanky Gold Coast location in Chicago for more affordable digs.

    4. I passed on going to this year’s conference for the Public Library Association (another ALA division) because the 2 headline speakers are Samantha Bee and Stacy Abrams. It wouldn’t surprise me that either of these feckless …. is going to be paid more for a 45-minute presentation than most public librarians make in almost a year.

    Gonna retire within the next four years, and it won’t be soon enough.

What does it mean for a book to be “fetishizing”?

The Friendly Grizzly | February 15, 2020 at 7:23 am

A better idea: remove the offended students. They belong not in a university, but in a place like Google, with stuffed toys, beachballs, table games, and oddly-configured furniture in the many break areas.

JusticeDelivered | February 15, 2020 at 11:55 am

“Staffers literally judged the books by their covers…”

That is probably because they cannot read and comprehend well.

When the offending books have all been removed, can I complain about the lack of diversity?

Georgetown hasn’t really been Catholic for over 50 years.

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