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Blocked Bytes Week

Banned Books Week

Celebrating the Freedom to Read

September 27–October 4, 2008

Yeah. OK. Let's keep Harry on the shelves. Banned Books Week is a good thing.

But ALA (and ISTE), if we are truly committed to "Freedom to Read" what we really need is...

Blocked Bytes Week

Celebrating the Freedom from Filters

September 27–October 4, 2008

Americans need the freedom to read more than just books.

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Reader Comments (17)

Doug - I agree COMPLETELY! Bud The Teacher and I promoted this (probably not widely enough) just before NECC - I Read Blocked Blogs.

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Sandifer

I just forwarded this to my team - and added the tag line Ironically you may not be able to open this at school.

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

@Doug - Nice job! I knew you would run with the idea. : )

@Stephanie - I PROUDLY display my Blocked Blogs Deal on my laptop so all who see me with the laptop opne and in use see my sticker! I was given the sticker @Edublogger Con. It truly is a great conversation starter.

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Nelson


As a question meant to provoke and not criticize - do you block any websites? If so, are you philosophically on the same side of the issue as those who ban some of the blog sites you mention above in your graphic?

I ask as someone who is in a leadership role with library media services in my district and who is the lead administrator on technology - while I see similarities in the processes of the two (how we deal with stocking libraries and how we treat the internet), I also see differences.

How would you respond to the comment that asserts that if you filter any content, you are performing some form of censorship. The only distinction between your form of censorship and those you speak of in the graphic is just a matter of perspective.

September 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

Hey, Doug,
Take a llook at the new AASL Intellectual Freedom brochure finished in June by Helen Adam's Intellectual Freedom Commiittee. It can be downloaded from the Issues and Advocacy page of the AASL web site: <> You will find filtering there and it is a subset of IF for AASL. More can be done, of course, especially with good nudges llike yours!


September 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara Kelly Johns

@ Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for sharing this. I like the work you are doing. I plan to get your logo on my own blog soon.

Oh, anyone who reads the Blue Skunk can proudly state he/she reads a "blocked blog." See:



@ Thanks, Kimberly. Good tag line!


@ Thanks, Cathy. I told you that I would use your idea!

Thanks for blogging about this on your site as well:


@ Hi Joel,

Yes, we do block some sites - those specifically required by CIPA - basically pornography. We trust our filter settings to make accurate judgments about this.

What keep us from being "censors," I believe, is that for any non-pornographic site to be blocked requires a formal process be followed similar to a reconsideration process for banning a book.

If you would like a more detailed description of our policies on filtering and how we make them, see:

Great question. Thanks for asking,


@ Thanks, Sara. Now if we can get the same attention for digital censorship as we do for print censorship. Maybe print censorship being a sub-set of all censorship?

Good link. Thanks again.


September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Doug - is it okay to use the Blocked Bytes image elsewhere (like on my blog)?

September 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKarl Fisch

Karl (and others),

I'd be honored if you used the image.

Everything on this blog can used following the Creative Commons 3.0 Share-alike provisions.



September 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Thank you Doug! Great ideas and information. Wanted to post about Banned Books Week last week and good intentions weren't enough. Banned Bytes continues it a week longer, adds to it, and now gives me a chance to redeem my blogging about banned books in print and bytes:

September 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterConnie Masson

Hi Connie,

Thanks for your blog post on this (as well as Karl's).

The more voices we hear with opinions, experiences and solutions the better!

All the very best,


September 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

I heartily agree with you! hope you make a formal proposal to ALA.
Clover in Virginia

October 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterClover

Thanks, Clover. I know ALA knows about my proposal since it was mentioned in ALA Direct newsletter. They may need to hear from lots of us, however!


October 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Clever, Doug. Banned Bytes Week sounds reasonable since that is actually happening, unlike Banned Books Week where the last book banned in the USA was in 1963. See

October 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDan Kleinman

Hi Dan,

Fascinating blog post. I'd never seen a real criticism of Banned Books Week before.

Thanks for sharing this.


October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Doug, no problem. Enjoy the many linked criticisms as well.

On another topic, specifically on Banned Bytes Week, think about this. Filters block out some sites. Okay. Granted. But libraries block out 7/8ths of the Internet. Patrons cannot access 7/8ths of the Internet because of libraries, and people are supposed to worry about a few sites a filter might block? I'm talking about the "Deep Web." I'm talking about the 7/8ths of the web Google admits it does not catalogue. The "Deep Web" is accessible. There are methods of searching the "Deep Web." However, libraries as a rule do not make these methods available to the public. Libraries are not making possibly millions of data sources/web sites available to the public but are complaining about filters blocking a few web sites? Are they for real?

Doug, I'm not making a conclusive case one way or another. I'm just bringing this tip of the iceberg to your attention for consideration as you see fit as you define "Banned Bytes Week."

October 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDan Kleinman

Hi Dan,

I get your point. If filtering is a sin of commission, not teaching, promoting vetted databases etc. is sin of omission. And this seems like a more difficult problem even than filtering to overcome.

Thanks for the POV!


October 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Rather interesting blog you've got here. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. BTW, why don't you change design :).

January 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOrdinarySomething

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