Librarian Bans Book to Teach Lesson About Censorship

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Librarian Scott R. DiMarco is proud to admit that he banned a book from his library at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. But he isn’t an unapologetic censor — he did it to teach his community a lesson about “the arbitrary and capricious nature of censorship.”

DiMarco recently wrote about his experience for the Association of College & Research Libraries. After lackluster attendance for Banned Books Week programming last fall, Di Marco decided to follow through on a joke made by local author and university staffer Dennis Miller:

The sixth [panel attendee] was Dennis Miller, our public relations director, who recently published his second novel, One Woman’s Vengeance. As we talked about various books that are still being banned at different locations around the country, Miller said, “You should ban mine. It has sex, violence and adult language.”

When staff members suggested that DiMarco do precisely what Miller suggested as an object lesson in censorship, DiMarco contacted Miller and got his blessing. DiMarco described his reasoning for going to such an extreme:

Our thought was that over the years, the subject of banned books had outlived any sense of uniqueness or urgency. It had become just another cause talked about once a year, usually by a display of banned books that to most people, especially college students, is just abstract.

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