Goodreads Librarians Group discussion

Questions > book banning

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message 1: by Lisa (not getting friends updates) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:30PM) (new)

Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan (lisavegan) | 2409 comments Anna, Glad you posted this to the Banned Books group as well!

message 2: by Sonky (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Sonky | 7 comments Whether I agree with the sentiments of the letter--or yours in support of it--the letter and your opinion are political expressions. I shouldn't have to say that it is your right to express yourself as you see fit and we should all be happy that people continue to express themselves despite increasing pressures from bullies and meatheads to shut up, but some nutcracker will construe what I'm about to say as trying to curb your rights.

However, I feel impelled to mention that this is an inappropriate place to post general political treatises like Conroy's and yours. You say as much yourself, but in order rather to slip in your political opinion just this once, as it were: a privilege you didn't gain by prior consent.

Please continue to form and express opinions; please spread Conroy's letter far and wide; but please also consider better boundaries for your zeal and respect the boundaries of your readership along with the locations you publish.

Remember also that abusive belief systems are based on the centrality, supremacy, and entitlement of self.

(Now, let the maelstrom commence.)

message 3: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 38 comments I doubt there will be any maelstrom, Cognomen. But it's nice to point out to the group how brave you are for posting.

message 4: by Matt (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Matt Mazenauer (provlear) | 11 comments Thank you so much for sharing, Anna. I think that is definately someting us Librarians, as book lovers, all loved to see.

message 5: by Eager (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Eager Reader | 2 comments Thanks for posting this. I always like to to have some insight into an author's thinking and the source of his writing.

message 6: by Jordan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Jordan (jordieheartsbooks) | 1 comments I loved the letter, thanks for posting it. I think if you're going to post this letter anywhere, a site where people discuss books is the place to do it. I don't think there's anything necessarily "political" about it. Conroy expresses his love of English teachers and his love of writing and explains how underpaid teachers are in general. I agree that people don't think about what they're doing when they want to ban books. Heaven forbid that children learn how to think while they're in school......

message 7: by Anna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Anna | 22 comments On the contrary - it IS a question for this forum.

This whole site is about reading what you yourself choose, and discussing it beyond geographical borders. It's a censor's worst nightmare!

message 8: by Arun (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Arun K | 8 comments I believe cognomen has a point.

While GOODREADS and other forums on GOODREADS might be an appropriate place for the letter.

I don't think the Goodreads librarians forum/community is a place for such discussion.

"A place where people can work together to correct book issues on Goodreads. Examples include combining editions, contacting librarians, fixing book and author typos, adding book covers and discussing what rules we should follow in order to make this site great!

For tips on being a librarian, check out the librarian manual:"

That's our declaration statement if you will. SO, it definitely is not an issue that you can discuss in the librarian's forum. This is a forum neither for general librarians in the real world nor for people interested in the sanctity of the library (at least not as advertised.)

To address what someone else posted, this is a political issue as it deals with how a school/city/city council/school board deals with freedom of speech. That in any environment is a political issue and this is definitely not the forum for political discussion.

Now as for the community that might be interested in it from each individual's standpoint, yes, a large portion of the goodreads' population including this forum's population will agree with COnroy's sentiments.

message 9: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 38 comments So, you make a 30-line post discussing why you think it's not an appropriate topic for discussion? I bet someone else could make a 30-line post on why that's pretty funny.

In any event, I think the best ones to decide what is and isn't appropriate discussion for the group are the moderators, who have the ability to delete off-topic threads.

message 10: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:35PM) (new)

rivka | 41062 comments Mod
Apparently some people lack the ability to simply ignore threads that don't interest them.


message 11: by Arun (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:37PM) (new)

Arun K | 8 comments I'm assuming that you mean 30-lines is too long?

Someone posted a 3-line reply saying it is for this forum so I just posted something and gave what is, I consider to be, decent proof of why it is not appropriate for this post.

As you will note, I suggested while it is a good issue to be discussed on Goodreads the website, however this little sub-forum is more about the maintenance of the topics rather than what is a political issue.

On that note, I was also responding to someone who said that it isn't a political issue by, again, giving proof on what makes it a political issue rather than just making it a he-said-she-said battle.

I agree, that the moderators are the ones who should comment on this issue, but that does not mean people within the group cannot make comments or bring up issues. The mods can miss things. When I've modded forums (both more and less active than this one), I've missed things.

I'm sorry, i posted a 30-line post on this issue. oops.

message 12: by Arun (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:37PM) (new)

Arun K | 8 comments At the risk of stating the obvious, I would suggest that I posted in this topic not because I am not interested in the thread but because I WAS interested in the thread.

I think it was Voltaire that said "While I may not like the point raised, the person who raised the point, the people who side with the point, I will defend his right to say what he said to the death."

Of course, the above is a paraphrase but I think the point is clear. I was just siding with Cognomen on this issue because he made a valid point that was not liked by the masses (err, the forum-goers).

At the risk of, again, stating the obvious and also the risk of being snarky-- shouldn't you have followed your own advice and ignored my post rather than reply with sarcasm or condescension or maybe it is pity as you suggested.

message 13: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:38PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 38 comments Dude. Don't you have a book you'd like to be reading, or something?

message 14: by Anna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:38PM) (new)

Anna | 22 comments Cognoman:
"Please continue to form and express opinions; please spread Conroy's letter far and wide; but please also consider better boundaries for your zeal and respect the boundaries of your readership along with the locations you publish.

Remember also that abusive belief systems are based on the centrality, supremacy, and entitlement of self."

I find the contradiction of the two sentences wonderful - in the first sentence, you are in fact speaking for the entire forum.

Second of all - this site is for discussing the rules of the forum, not just technical aspects. A discussion on how to deal with freedom of expression is, or atleast should be, of high relevance. There most certainly will be books added that others will want to remove (ie some political manifestos etc).

Thirdly: yes, Cognoman, we here know what those abusive beliefsystems are. (Just check out the geographical spread of the users!)
I dare say that is why so many of us think this issue should be discussed on as many fronts as possible, and not just kept to the 'banned-books forum'!

message 15: by Arun (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:39PM) (new)

Arun K | 8 comments Ann,

First of all, thanks for taking the time to write out an answer and to also think about the issue.

I don't mind discussing issues such as whether a book has to be added or removed based on political reasoning. But let the issue come up and we can discuss it. I doubt with the temperament of this community as it is, no one will mind adding any book onto the side.

This is more of a meta issue in that we are discussing a a political letter written by a specific author against a community removed from goodreads. While we might have people from the community here, I don't think discussing such an issue is okay. Of course, if the moderators say that it is okay, then I shall desist and heed their words.

Also, I may not be looking at it correctly, could you please tell me what's the contradiction between the two statements? No sarcasm, just asking.

ALso, regarding your statement on dealing with freedom of expression on this forum, that letter doesn't talk about that. it only talks about freedom of expression in a community outside of That's my only qualm. I support Conroy's position whole-heartedly, but just because I like something does not mean that there isn't a proper time and place for such likes to be talked about.

Thank you.

message 16: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:39PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 38 comments Well, I guess that answers my question!

message 17: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:39PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse So what Voltaire actually said was:

"While I may not like the point raised, the person who raised the point, the people who side with the point, I will defend his right to say what he said to the death, unless he's said it in a place I consider inappropriate."


message 18: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:39PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 38 comments Sure would be nice to hear from the moderators here.

message 19: by Debbie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:39PM) (new)

Debbie Moorhouse We sent them to sleep.

message 20: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:39PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 38 comments Well, one of us did, anyhow.

message 21: by Arun (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:40PM) (new)

Arun K | 8 comments Touche.

I accept that does go against the general feel of that statement and I might have been wrong to use that as support for what I said. But, I do feel there are places and times for everything.

I appreciate what you are saying and I am glad to listen to reason as you and others have taken their time out to talk about the issues.

But when others simply make one-line statements that really support or refute the issue with logic but just make passive-aggressive attacks on me, then I will ignore them. (I suppose this would constitute a passive-aggressive attack, but I have to stoop to some level.)

message 22: by J-Lynn Van Pelt (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:40PM) (new)

J-Lynn Van Pelt | 3 comments I think the amount of honest discussion in this thread makes the argument that it is the perfect place to have posted the letter. Thank you.

message 23: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:40PM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) | 38 comments Huh. I'm kind of disappointed that you got the idea that I was trying to be "passive." I was actually trying pretty hard to just be out and out hostile. Maybe I should try harder?

message 24: by Arun (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:41PM) (new)

Arun K | 8 comments J-Lynn, well we're having a discussion about whether this is the forum to bring up this topic. So I wouldn't say it makes it the perfect place to post the letter.

That's bad logic.

message 25: by Anna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:41PM) (new)

Anna | 22 comments Just one point of clarification, first. There are two "Annas" in this thread - the one who posted the letter, and then I. Just to get things straight. :)

The case in Conroy's letter was that particular community, but the reason I thought this forum is one of many good places to post it is that it IS a bigger issue than just that particular community (and I believe Conroy did too). It just so happened that Conroy's letter was the starting point for this discussion...not the end point.
When book banning occurs, it is always about something much larger than that specific banning in that specific time and place. Or?

And I do believe this discussion could arise here at goodreads too.

Regarding my comment on Cognoman's post: I believe the last line in my quote from his post was snide (or was I the only one who read that sentence as a critique against Anna no1 for not asking permission of this forum before posting the letter?) as he in fact was speaking for the entire forum without asking for our permission to speak on our behalf. (No, I ordinarliy don't think a person needs to *ask permission*, but as his critique against her was just that...)

message 26: by Otis, Chief Architect (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:42PM) (new)

Otis Chandler | 315 comments Mod
Hi all,

My apologies for not responding sooner, as it seems to have run out of hand a bit. It is true that this group was created as a way to build a community of people to help create and maintain a quality catalogue of books here on Goodreads. As this is what librarians do for libraries, calling this group the Goodreads Librarians seemed to make sense. However I think it has perhaps caused some confusion, as there are lots of 'real-world' librarians on the site, and in that context posting topics like the Conroy letter would make perfect sense.

I personally don't see a big problem with posting it and would be inclined to happily ignore it if it wasn't of interest, as many on this thread have mentioned. That being said, if everyone were to start posting extremely off-topic things then we would have a problem. So the official view must therefore be to try to keep posts relevant to the groups direction.

Your thoughts and opinions are, as always, welcome :)


message 27: by Arun (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:42PM) (new)

Arun K | 8 comments Thanks Otis. And I'm done. As the moderator has maintained that i was somewhat wrong (partially), I will apologize for causing a fuss and then move on. :-D

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