It’s not about the children: “Revolutionary Voices” pulled from public library

We were gratified to learn of a kind mention last week from librarian Lizzy Burns in her thoughtful blog A CHAIR, A FIREPLACE & A TEA COZY concerning one example of the kind of work the NCAC does every day. You can find the original post here.

The latest wrinkle in the story: 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” (as one enthusiastic book-puller allegedly put it); simply stated, no adults can read Revolutionary Voices in the Burlington County (NJ) library either.  The forces of reaction are having their way.

Our sources tell us that a female member of a local “912” group approached the Burlington County Library staff to complain about Revolutionary Voices and push for its removal there too, sometime close to when the book was pulled from the Rancocas Valley school library, since “kids might find it [in the public library] 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 their system; it was pulled without fanfare so that readers simply wouldn’t notice.  It is said that “free people read freely.”  That is not the case today in Burlington County, NJ.

Many thanks to Lizzy Burns for spreading the word about this important issue (and for the kind mention, ditto!)


About Blog of the National Coalition Against Censorship

Blogging Censorship is where National Coalition Against Censorship staff weigh in on the censorship issues on their minds.
This entry was posted in Joshua Olesker: Author and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to It’s not about the children: “Revolutionary Voices” pulled from public library

  1. Jean says:

    I’m a librarian…a friend linked to this page on Facebook (where by the way, the “about me” under my profile picture says “Free People Read Freely”). Since my library doesn’t own this book, I just went to put it in my order cart for the new fiscal year. Unfortunately, it’s out of print! I don’t see it on Alyson’s website either. We should lobby for a new edition/reprint.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Jason Pasnikowski says:

    Re: Jean, regarding out-of-print: perhaps your library would allow you to acquisition books through other channels, such as used from

  3. Jean says:

    Good idea… makes it very, very difficult for libraries to do business with them. However, nothing stopping me from buying it and donating it to the library where it will be added to the collection!

    But honestly, a new edition makes sense. What’s a hotter seller/more-in-demand library book than one that’s been banned?

  4. Pingback: Box Turtle Bulletin » NJ Library Removes LGBT Book, Calling It “Child Pornography”

  5. KYLE says:

    When will the reactionary books read by Gail Sweet & Group 912 be treated with equal derision?

    I am offended by the ideas contained in censoring, homophobic, Bible thumping cretins such as Gail Sweet & Group 912:


  6. Dan Kleinman says:

    “On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn’t fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.”

    Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week,” by Judith Krug (of the ALA), Curriculum Review, 46:1, Sep. 2006.

  7. Dave Coffren says:

    I am just amazed at what gets thru the 1st amendment…where do we draw the line…Kyle above is offended by bible thumping cretins…well I am not…may not agree with her but I am not going to get personal by calling her names…should I go on a tirade guessing that Kyle is gay because he is against homophobia and call him all kinds of name….NO…I get a real kick out of the “Free” library…well I pay taxes and my taxes pay for the so called “free” library and I vote that some books are just not appropriate for kids and I have no problem pulling them from the library…. how about we start putting in Penthouse and Playboy and Hustler magazines…leave them open so the kids could get quick look…I am against those magazines…what label name will I be called….Homophobe if you think what 2 men do for sexual gratification is digusting…SleazemagPhobe I guess…I was going to go on a rant and use the foulest language I could just to see if you would publish it because you wouldn’t censor what I had to say whether it was inappropriate or not…hmmm I wonder if you would have censored me….?

  8. Pete Bann says:

    As a homosexual myself, I just keep my activities to myself and my friends. I just hate “in-your-face” brothers and sisters. They just infuriate the straight population and does us no useful service.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s