I have an ugly truth to share: there are materials in my collection that I dislike. I work in a large multi-branch public library system with centralized selection, so I have not been involved with the purchase of any of these materials. My lack of love for some of these items comes from a variety of reasons: poor writing quality, a didactic message, being super commercial. Many are innocuous fluff and aren’t hurting anyone by being available but I still see them as junk food. For the most part, these are books I probably wouldn’t put on display because they are so popular and easy to find already. But I am not opposed to their being on display. Some recent purchases, however, have caused me to pause and think about why I considered not putting these books on display. Did I want to avoid complaints? Or was there something even…
Juvenile detention centers play a crucial role in the rehabilitation and development of young offenders. However, one aspect that is often overlooked is the importance of providing access to books and other reading materials for these young people. Research conducted by criminal justice scholars emphasizes the need for a correctional system that focuses on rehabilitation rather than just punishment.
Children’s publishing often reflects what’s happening in the world children live in. The COVID-19 pandemic. Gun violence. And now book banning.
As we see more and more books being challenged in school and public libraries (indeed, ALA reported a record number of censorship demands in 2022), library staff have to consciously make the decision to not self-censor purchases out of a desire to avoid conflict. As early as 2018, librarian publications began to speak out against the harm self-censorship has on the communities in which librarians serve.
The Roald Dahl Story Company, recently purchased by Netflix, has agreed to change the wording in 17 of Roald Dahl’s written works, after suggestions by consultants from Inclusive Minds, an organization that aims to represent a diverse society through books that foster “inclusivity, diversity, equality, and accessibility in children’s literature.” [Article here.]
Intellectual Freedom and the freedom to read children’s and young adult literature is a hot button topic and has been a hot button topic for the last few years since the pandemic. Books, specifically books with LGBTQI+ characters and books centered around racial issues, are being used for political clout and to whip up the ire of conservatives throughout the United States. Groups are systematically organizing and fueling the fire to remove books from library shelves across the country–both public and private school libraries. Missouri schools are no exception. On August 28, 2022 Missouri Senate Bill SB 775 was signed into law causing school librarians across the state of Missouri to pull graphic novels from their shelves in a panic. School district leaders required their librarians to pull any graphic novels that met the restrictions of the law in hopes that they could circumvent a possible lawsuit. Some district leaders…
When doing outreach for grade school children my favorite books to book talk often come from a genre that is frequently challenged: Horror! It’s a delight to discuss scary stories because these conversations reveal how children are their own best selectors and even censors when they are given the ability to choose what they read.
Sadly, it was not surprising in late August when USA Today ran a headline calling librarians the “perfect target” for those who would ban books from schools. Librarians are often the purchasers of materials and the people to suggest and connect students with books of interest. Of course, they—we—would be under attack from those who would limit access to information of which censors do not approve.