Q&A with author Lance Rubin on the suppression of his YA novel in South Carolina; A Practical Guide to Privacy Audits; ACLU to school district: Stop censoring student Facebook criticisms over gun violence walkout
While James Madison is most often remembered as the drafter of the Bill of Rights, he was also an advocate for open government and transparency. For Madison’s birthday we should pause and consider what Madison might have to say about support for libraries and the press and the state of open government today.
Question: How is the United States’ preeminent body tasked with preventing disease and poor public health to accomplish its mandate if it is barred from doing so?
Librarians are crucial to ensuring intellectual freedom because we build relationships with learners and we help foster curiosity and creativity through daily interaction. We get to know people. We talk with them and we become trusted colleagues, mentors, and educators, yet this element of our profession often gets left out in our marketing and advertising.
Author Lance Rubin published Denton Little’s Deathdate in 2015. It follows a teenage boy named Denton Little who – like everyone else in the world he inhabits – knows the exact date on which they are going to die. Based on a single complaint in August of 2017, the book was pulled from all the Beaufort County School District’s physical and digital library shelves without following the district’s own procedure.
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I asked a large group of librarians about their experiences with people hiding materials, defacing materials or stealing materials from the library. It was an informal request on social media so nothing scientific and I would have loved to follow up with more questions but I opted for brevity. Of the 100 comments posted, here are some of their responses.
Recent book challenges in the news have involved permission slips sent home by classroom teachers when students would be reading a potentially controversial book, and I’d like to take some time to review the bigger picture surrounding classroom text selection, parent communication, and the sticky question of “permission.”
What is more American than protecting the first Amendment? Whether it be free speech or hate speech, differing opinions will exist in the room. In educational settings, educators are preparing students for life where there are rooms filled with all forms of conflicting ideas and practices.
We owe it to kids to talk to them about their rights and what support looks like—be it for challenged books, authors, or marginalized people—and how all of it ties into the power dynamics of their country.