Opening Minds, Turning Pages


Jana L. Haas

In Wichita Falls, Texas, a local ordinance, known as the Altman Resolution, allowed 300 library card holders to petition for the removal of any children’s book in the Wichita Falls public library children’s section to be relocated to the adult section.

The city library staff initially relocated two books, Daddy’s Roommate and Heather Has Two Mommies, after receiving petitions spearheaded by members of the First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls.

One of the books portrays a lesbian couple who raise a daughter. The other describes a man who leaves his wife and son for a boyfriend.

Since 1982, during the last week in September, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.

Here at SDSU, H.M. Briggs Library is joining librarians, booksellers and journalists across the nation this week in the annual recognition of Banned Books Week, Sept. 20-27. This week also celebrates the freedom to read and, according to the American Library Association’s website at, to remind “Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.”

Challenged books are not a large issue in academic libraries, according to Steve Marquardt, SDSU Dean of Libraries, but public schools and libraries often face challenges for books from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain to Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.