Libraries want to provide high quality, affordable, safe learning platforms, but that can be challenging. With lots of choices and often confusing terms of service agreements, libraries are asking themselves, “What should we buy?”
Students do not necessarily jump for joy if you tell them they will be learning about intellectual freedom and the First Amendment. However, many of these concepts are included in national and state-level learning and library standards and are important for them to learn about as citizens and future voters. Read more for ideas on how school librarians and teachers can actively engage teen learners in the critical thinking necessary to reach these learning goals.
As a librarian I believe everyone should have access to the information they need, but as a parent I can understand how the lack of parental control presented by school programs and unrestricted library books can be very unnerving. Much like protests to the teaching of sexuality education in schools, books on the subject are challenged in libraries due to the role they play in the spread of such important information.
Celebrating the remarkable, revolutionary role that Susan B. Anthony played not just in helping gain suffrage for women but in advocating for intellectual freedom.
Living in a post-fact or “fake news” society poses significant challenges to educators, particularly when it comes to history learning standards. Do you know who creates standards in your state? Debates over historical truths, biased distortions, and unpatriotic historical interpretations open the door for political influence in learning standards, directly impacting the historical and civic educations of today’s students.
Whether or not it contained the criminalization aspect, this bill, had it been voted into law, would essentially be red flagging books that contained potentially obscene content. Who would be responsible for policing which books are considered obscene? The decisions would be purely subjective, based on the opinions of parents and community members. And how obscene would it need to be to require consent/legal action?
Each article in the Library Bill of Rights is important, but I’m always drawn to this particular article for that phrase. “To provide information and enlightenment”. It is essential that parents and educators understand that to be fully informed, enlightened citizens in our society, our children must be exposed to a diverse array of viewpoints and ideas, not just those that fit within a certain ideology.
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.
There are no easy answers in these scenarios, and often, the label of censorship thrown about in the media serves more to politicize and enflame than to move toward solutions and greater intellectual freedom for all. Instead of relying on the label of censorship to discourage curricular changes guided by politics, power, or lack of transparency, we need to rely on rigorous analysis of the curriculum choices themselves and the institutions that create and implement them. And that is a much harder task than writing a provocative headline.