Spring Awakening album cover

“Spring Awakening,” “Rise” and what’s “appropriate”: A conversation with my daughter

My professional concerns collide with my parenting worries:  What is “appropriate” for young people? How should schools and communities respond to “controversial” content and issues? How can teens and adults communicate about difficult topics? Here’s a peek into the talks my daughter and I’ve had about Rise, Spring Awakening, and the tough topics that teens and adults work through every day.

Drag queen Deja Brooks is pictured near the entrance of the Lawrence Public Library. Photo via Lawrence Journal World http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2017/oct/06/319711/

Defend Pride at Your Library

“Beyond merely avoiding the exclusion of materials representing unorthodox or unpopular ideas, libraries should proactively seek to include an abundance of resources and programming representing the greatest possible diversity of genres, ideas, and expressions. A full commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion requires that library collections and programming reflect the broad range of viewpoints and cultures that exist in our world.”

ALA Top 10 Challenged Books 2017

Top 10 Most Challenged Books FAQ: A Conversation with Kristin Pekoll

Every spring, I look forward to the day when the Office for Intellectual Freedom releases its annual “Top 10 Challenged Books.” What questions, issues, and topics sparked conversations for communities, schools, and the nation? Which books became the most recent proxies for our national debates, corns, and preoccupations?

magazine covers in a magazine rack

Gender bias lesson leads to policy changes–and questions for school librarians

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.

The words "Censored" in red block letters

Librarians Beware: Self-Censorship

Dubbed self-censoring, there is a growing concern that many librarians are purposefully omitting certain books and content from library collections due to personal bias opposed to professional judgment.  According to an article in the School Library Journal, self-censorship is “a dirty secret that no one in the profession wants to talk about or admit practicing. Yet everyone knows some librarians bypass good books—those with literary merit or that fill a need in their collections.”