Banned Books Week 2018, September 23-29

Why We Still Need Banned Books Week

However, I’d argue that one of the reasons our country doesn’t experience these dangerous laws is because of the perpetuation of the importance of intellectual freedom by hardworking librarians. I believe the reason we have access to and the freedom to read all books, even controversial ones, is, in part, because of awareness campaigns like Banned Books Week.

The Hate U Give and All American Boys Challenged by Charleston County Police

The Hate U Give and All American Boys Challenged by Charleston County Police

Addressing the issue as a community allows for open and effective communication and gives students the opportunity to understand and ask questions about what is likely a confusing topic for them. Many of these students have probably already either experienced firsthand or have heard about an incident of police violence, and like it or not, they are already actively paying attention to and attempting to understand the important issues our nation is facing and their role in such situations. It is important for educators—  ALL educators – to guide them through that process.

Harvard University's Houghton Library

Dispatches from the Houghton Library, Part One

As an academic librarian with a deep interest in historical and contemporary book censorship, I can’t imagine a better way to spend my vacation than with the very books deemed too dangerous to read. This post is my first dispatch as a visiting fellow in publishing history at the Houghton Library, Harvard’s main repository of rare books and manuscripts.

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.”