Two library bloggers have recently questioned the wisdom of particular acquisitions they have made for their school libraries. With VP nominee Palin being rumored to have tried to censor library material, I suspect many librarians are a bit sensitive about intellectual freedom right now.
Jeri Hurd has a thoughtful "rant" about how Arabs are treated in the media, whether a book with a great text but an inciteful cover belongs on her shelves, and questions the role of schools and libraries in teaching multi-culturalism and tolerance. READ IT!
And Cathy Nelson wonders if permanently checking out a book on teen-pregnancy to the guidance counselor is a form of censorship.
Members of ALA and AASL on their respective listservs are discussing whether member commentary about Palin places ALA's non-profit status in jeopardy.
These are deceptively frightening statements for a large percentage of our parents, teachers and administrators. It takes a deceptively large amount of courage to fight censorship, to defend a wide variety of viewpoints - especially in a politically charged climate.
We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and
to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not
believe they need the help of censors to assist them in this task. American
Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights
Young people have First Amendment rights. American Library Association
In the late 70s when I was a high school librarian, the superintendent requested that I take the magazine Psychology Today off the shelves. He objected to the ads for condoms in the back, as I remember. I didn't remove it, but I didn't make an issue of it either. He just never checked to see if I had actually complied or not. Had the issue been pressed, I'd like to think I would have fought for my students' rights to the information in the magazine. I'd like to think so...
Techs, this certainly not an issue the library alone owns. How will you respond when a parent asks you to block Planned Parenthood, PETA or The Flying Spaghetti Monster websites? Do you have a review process in place or will you be blown about with every political wind? Good time to think about it before the gales of campaigning get stronger...