Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2024 Issue

A Few States Are Now Banning the Book Bans

Gender Queer is one of, if not the most banned book.

The news recently has been filled with stories about book bans. Some local residents don't want others to read what they don't like, and opportunist politicians jump on the bandwagon. Censorship is as old as free expression. However, as Newton's third law of motion teaches us, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Now, we are seeing opposing forces seeking to ban the book bans.

 

Minnesota recently passed a law designed to prohibit the practice of banning books. The legislation is headed, Access to Library Materials and Rights Protected. The legislators were not into writing detailed descriptions of the rights protected, stating succinctly “Book banning prohibited. A public library must not ban, remove, or otherwise restrict access to a book or other material based solely on its viewpoint or the messages, ideas, or opinions it conveys.” The remainder of the bill goes on to state that it applies to publicly supported libraries, and that residents can protest the use of books they find objectionable. What it does require is that review of banning requests follow a defined policy and the decisions be made by library professionals. The law also makes it clear that it does not interfere with the library's normal processes for removing books – shelf space, age, damage or obsolescence.

 

Governor Tim Walz posted a message on X, formerly known as Twitter, on signing the bill, reading: “Censorship has no place in our libraries. As a former teacher, I’m clear: We need to remember our history, not erase it.

 

“Today, I signed a bill into law putting an end to book bans based on ideology in Minnesota.”

 

Three other states have already passed ban-the-book-ban laws. Illinois led the way a year ago, followed by California a couple of months later, and Maryland two months ago. Several other states have similar laws on the docket but it is not clear whether they will be adopted.

 

Book banning laws or rules have mainly been promoted or enacted on a local level. However, efforts to ban books statewide have taken place in Florida and Idaho.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s, July 11: Galileo, Document annotated and signed by Galileo, dated Padua, 1595. £500,000 to £700,000.
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Rowling (J.K.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, first hardback edition, 1997. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, July 18: Binding.- Lucian of Samosata Opuscula Erasmo Roterodamo interprete, first Aldine edition, Venice, Heirs of Aldus Manutius and A, 1516. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bacon (Sir Francis). De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum Libri IX, Pierre Gassendi's copy gifted him by Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc, Paris, Typis Petri Mettayer, 1624. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: Shakespeare (William). The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry, Sirnamed Hot-Spurre…, Printed by Isaac Jaggard, and Ed. Blount, 1623. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Darwin (Charles). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, third edition, presentation inscription 'From the Author' in a secretary's hand, John Murray, 1861. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, July 18: Teague (Violet). Geraldine Rede. Night Fall in the Ti-Tree, first edition, Melbourne, Sign of the Rabbit, 1905; and another. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: India.- Primrose (Gen. James Maurice). Collection of 24 original drawings from his time in India with the 43rd Regiment of Foot, circa 1855 to 1864. £10,000 to £15,000.
    Forum, July 18: Manet (Édouard). Trente Eaux-fortes originales, the complete portfolio, Paris, A. Stroelin, 1905. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bible, English. [The Holy Bible], first edition of the King James Bible, the Great 'He' Bible, [Robert Barker], [1611]. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    18th July 2024
    Forum, July 18: America.- Mathews (Alfred E.) Pencil Sketches of Montana, first edition, New York, Published by the Author, 1868. £6,000 to £8,000.
    Forum, July 18: Bawden (Edward). Original dust-jacket artwork for 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus, [c.1946]. £4,000 to £6,000.
    Forum, July 18: World.- Fries (Laurent). Tabula Nova Totius Orbis, woodcut map, [c.1541]. £3,000 to £5,000.

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