Mansfield University of Pennsylvania librarian Scott R. DiMarco intentionally banned a book within his library system to demonstrate “what harm censorship can really do to a community.”
DiMarco wrote about his censorship exercise in College & Research Libraries News. The librarian picked One Woman’s Vengeance, a book self-published on Lulu by Mansfield University PR director Dennis R. Miller. Here’s more from DiMarco:
on a campus of 3,000, only eight people actually asked for a meeting with me to discuss the reasons I banned the book and to discuss what could be done to reverse the ban. The overwhelming number of comments were complaints about how they felt betrayed by this action or their frustration with the administration. Some used Facebook as a forum to make rude comments from the relatively safe distance social media provides.
When the exercise was over, DiMarco had taught readers a simple lesson. If someone successfully challenges a book in your community, reach out directly to the community leaders who made the decision to remove the book.
Author Dennis M. Miller wrote an essay for The Huffington Post about the banning. Here’s an excerpt:
No book has ever been universally banned on a permanent basis. When you ban a book you draw attention to it. You create a desire among readers who want to part the curtain at the peep show. Tell me I can’t have something because it is bad for me and I want it more. We all crave the forbidden. In this digital age everything is within reach, especially if it’s banned. Search and you shall find. There will always be banning because there will always be a person or group who is offended by something.