Collection Development class discussion
Short essay by school librarian - do you agree?
Bringelson , Carin. (2004). On intellectual freedom. School Libraries in Canada, 24(4), p.57-9
I really liked this passage in the article, "My job was not to take a position on the book, but simply to provide concrete information about the title and sometimes perspectives on the broader issue or issues involved. My work gave me the opportunity to think about the reasons why people challenge materials. While these reasons were many and varied, among the concerns that came up repeatedly (for many different titles) were objectionable language, sexuality, and violence.”
I would find it hard to not take a stance on a book, especially something I felt strongly against. I feel like a lawyer, trying to defend a client whom I thought shouldn’t walk the streets. I think this is probably the hardest part of our job, but I sort of see it from a parental sort of view to. (Granted, I have no children yet, so my views may change later when I do.) But, it seems like if you give kids the ability to be taught at home what is acceptable and what is not, then allow the kids to decide on their own if they think something is too much or inappropriate. Maybe it’s like drinking. If you tell them that it’s restricted and off limits and then on their 21st birthday they put themselves into a stupor, it’s because the whole thing was so out of their underage reach.
What is the difference between selection and censorship?
How can librarians avoid self-censorship?
Can you provide an example of self-censorship? This one can be real or made-up. Just provide a "case" for us to talk about. If real, do not name the library's name or the librarian.
I'm not sure if things are fairly similar in small towns in Texas as they are in Florida, but I live in a very conservative place. The school where I use to teach had a very nice, Sunday school teaching librarian and he was totally against having the book Wicked in his library. But, as he pointed out, the kids wanted to read it so he put it on the shelves.
I honestly would have a hard time with self censorship, I admit, especially if I were working in the Children's Library. Our jobs as librarians are to allow children to read whatever book they want to on the public library level. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Now, as for school libraries, I think it’s going to be even more tricky. As we’ve discussed, there are plenty of parents who are against Harry Potter novels yet the school libraries have them. I’m glad to know that, as our Power Point notes state, “Children – Lesser, but substantial protection, Parental control, ‘Harmful to minors’ statutes, Not all minors are the treated the same -5 year-old vs. 16 year-old.” But, if there is a YA book that has something a parent doesn’t like, it doesn’t mean the book will be yanked off a school or public library shelf. Again, I think it’s the toughest part of our job, quite honestly, to keep our own personal beliefs and convictions out of the selection process.
I have to finish shining up my website for Web Development class. I’ll add some library events and tweak the fonts some, but otherwise it’s a basic website and that’s all we need. (Well, it has that dreaded CSS stuff in there too…)
I also have to write my final Reflection paper and turn that in for Collection Development. Everything, for both classes, is due on Friday.
I finished teaching my day class on Monday, and now I have to finish up grading their Lit. Criticism essays and Annotated Bibliographies as well as their Final Exams. Tonight I go to school for the last night class to collect the same work from those students. Then I’ll put the grades in by next Monday and be finished with everything and officially on break for a while.
I’ve been jogging and swimming at the gym, so that’s giving me something else to keep me busy each day. I also started up my new project called Unfinished Book Reviews that I may or may not keep on blogspot. It seems the easiest right now to use Blogger for this stuff since so many library, librarian and education blogs are products of Blogger.
23 days until Steve and I begin our vacation!