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Local Libraries Grapple with Efforts to Censor Children’s Books

Dr. Eva Goldfarb Comments

Posted in: College News and Events, Master of Public Health News, Public Health

Headshot photo of Dr. Eva Goldfarb

WXXI News recently published a story about children’s books that get banned from libraries. The article noted that the book, And Tango Makes Three, a true story about two male penguins from the Central Park Zoo in New York City who raised a baby chick from an egg, gets banned often.

Last year, the American Library Association documented nearly 730 attempts to censor library resources, targeting nearly 1,600 books. That’s the highest number of banning attempts since the organization began compiling records 20 years ago.

Dr. Eva Goldfarb, Professor in the Public Health Department, argues for access to books for children. She stated it’s important to examine where young children are getting their information about sex and sexuality, noting the internet, television, and peers are common sources.

“There is so much in culture that is teaching our young children about sex and sexuality, and I would argue, not necessarily in a healthy way,” Dr. Goldfarb said.

Dr. Goldfarb said when parents and educators don’t teach or talk about aspects of sex education — like anatomy, healthy relationships, and setting boundaries — it creates a culture of silence.

And she said that taboo and the shame that comes with it can harm children more than it can protect them.

“By taking books off shelves, and curriculum out of schools, you’re basically leaving it up to culture at large for kids to learn things,” Goldfarb said. “And it can lead to so much more confusion.”

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