Libraries can’t grow if they aren’t weeded. The fifth Ranganathan Law states “The library is a growing organism.” With professional resources and a statement of support, ALA and the Oregon Library Association reinforce the professional deselection standards used by the Salem Public Library.
Parents in Mahwah, NJ are expressing distress that the school district has, in their view, reduced student access to books in the school libraries.
Are admissions policies at the world’s most exclusive colleges fair? How do they even determine what “fair” is? And does this presence or absence of fairness affect our intellectual freedom?
Some of the lessons we learn in our professional career are painful. And to all of you have made a decision you regret, I say: Welcome to the club. The best response is to learn from those decisions. The takeaway here: our policies articulate our values. Let’s not throw them away just because someone yells at us. Let’s live them.
Is it unethical to charge library fines? The current landscape in public and other libraries shows that there’s no one way to handle it, but trends are moving in favor of patrons.
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.
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.
No policy can be written to prevent all challenges and all selection mistakes. But we can improve how we talk to each other and how we talk about our policies. Included here are three steps school librarians can take to lay the groundwork for improved conversations between parents, teachers, and administrators.
Join Erin Berman and Julie Oborny of the San José Public Library for a free webinar that outlines the first steps libraries can take to implement up-to-date privacy policies and procedures.
Indeed, however difficult it might be to differentiate the men who authored these books from their words on the page, it is vital to our First Amendment rights and the promotion of intellectual freedom that we do not let that difficulty interfere with our duties as librarians. Patrons possess, and should continue to hold, the right to decide for themselves whether or not they want to read these materials.