Parents in Mahwah, NJ are expressing distress that the school district has, in their view, reduced student access to books in the school libraries.
Part of the reason that the novel is so well loved, I think, is because it challenged so many of us to think about difficult issues. Whether we continue to teach Mockingbird or choose to move on to another, more modern book, one important lesson from Mockingbird will live on – we will continue to read, and love, our banned books.
Many of us have probably seen news articles raising privacy concerns regarding home DNA test kits, but now evidence indicates that choosing to take one of these at-home DNA tests may have privacy implications for not only you, but also your family members.
The adult services staff received a package in the mail presented as if it were an ILL. Upon opening it, Jamie Dacyczyn found a paperback book, cataloged in the Teen Comics section, wrapped in white bandage tape with the words “filthy” and “not suited for children” and “18+” written on the tape. It also came with a 4”x 6” lined unsigned post-it note explaining how this books was found at a camp for children and it is totally inappropriate for teens, etc.
Like a good proportion of the country, I have been doing my best to catch bits and pieces of the Senate hearings regarding the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the US Supreme Court. When I sat down to write this blog I wondered, what impact might Kavanaugh’s confirmation have on intellectual freedom issues?
With the major success of science fiction and fantasy films based on novels recently including The Hunger Games (not published by Tor) and Ender’s Game (published by Tor), I have long thought that science fiction and fantasy was a great “gate way” genre for reluctant teen readers in particular. Therefore, as a librarian and a buyer of Tor’s books myself I would add my voice to those asking Tor and Macmillan to reconsider this embargo.
Weakening the protections of academic freedom will make it harder for all educators to do their jobs effectively and creatively. I think for most of us, if we think back we will realize the teachers we remember most, and that we learned the most from, are the ones who challenged the way we think and pushed us beyond our comfort zones. Educators at all levels need to continue to have the freedom to do this.
A federal district court ruling earlier this month which held that there is no clearly established constitutional right to literacy in the United States has reminded me that the various pieces of my background are sometimes in conflict with one another.
Society has evolved to expect personalized recommendations from providers like Amazon and Netflix. (Who doesn’t love the suggestions for what to read or watch next, right?) I think most of us have even gotten used to seeing personalized advertising in our Facebook feeds or Google ads. However, a Library Journal article on OCLC Wise points out that this level of personalization requires data collection. Data collection by libraries can risk compromising patron privacy.
Many libraries have meeting rooms or public spaces that can be used for speakers and events, and this case reinforces the importance of making content neutral decisions regarding who can use these spaces and what they can use them for. Decisions that are not content (or viewpoint) neutral risk legal problems for the library. This also highlights the importance of a clearly defined meeting room and events policy, both to guide internal decision making and to allow staff to have clear and specific viewpoint neutral policy-based reasons if they choose to deny a request to use library space.