I picked up an ARC at ALA and I read it as fast as I could. Yes, it was that good and the plane trip home was easy because of it. You should read it. It is called The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler and it will be out in November 2011. The basics: It is 1996 (think: before the internets were available everywhere) and Emma and Josh through a time travel computer glitch gain access to the Facebook accounts of their future selves. The teens both purposefully and accidentally alter their futures, learn a lot about who they are and what they want and they find a little romance. It is a good solid book for the twelve and up crowd.
You had to know the “but” was coming.
Chapter 24 set off my Intellectual Freedom Alarm. And it was loud.
In Chapter 24 Josh arrives at the public library too late to catch Emma, but he does catch the librarian who helped her. This kind gentleman behind the reference desk is only too happy to tell Josh all about what Emma was looking for – including handing him the book that Emma used. It gets better – the librarian leads Josh to the copy machine Emma used, where Josh finds a bad copy of the exact page she was after.
So what is the big deal? What got me so excited? No one in the book thought this was wrong.
This is a big blow to YOUR image. Well, mine too! People don’t know all that we do to protect their privacy and this only makes it look like we’ll tell the world what they read. This says to kids: Don’t pick up THAT book or the librarian will be on the phone to your parents telling them all about what you are reading. Egads, it gives me shivers.
What can librarians do? Fight back. Be the Intellectual Freedom Fighter that you are and do everything you can to combat negative images of librarians. Keep fresh batteries in your Intellectual Freedom Alarm. Address intellectual freedom with the kids and teens that you serve. Let them know that you will protect their privacy and their right to read whatever they want. Fight the good fight.