About a decade ago, there was a survey of Texas libraries asking which books they did and did not have in their collection. The list was, for all intent and purpose, a list of commonly challenged books. Librarians were asked to indicate which books were present in their collections. The results suggested strongly that there was quite a bit of gatekeeping going on. As Paul Thomas observed today in his blog post (http://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/banned-in-the-u-s-a/): "I must add here that censorship is even more insidious and pervasive in our public schools in the form of self-censorship—teachers seeking works that will not cause complaints and avoiding works that may be controversial...Preserving access to all books for all people, especially children, is at the core of our humanity because the only dangerous idea is the one not allowed."
I can hear the gates closing sometimes when I am talking to groups of educators about books. I mention TWO BOYS KISSING and I can sometimes hear the audible click indicating brains that are closing. "I could never have THAT book." I can hear the gates closed when someone asks if a book has LANGUAGE in it (and for the record my response is generally a flippant, "yes, it is written in English.").
When I hear the gates close, I wish I could have the eloquence of Jo Knowles whose blog post this week says ti all: http://jbknowles.livejournal.com/434403.html.