BISAC headings have made their way into public and school libraries as well. A 2013 Knowledge Quest issue on the “Dewey Debate” provides a good intro to the “Dewey or don’t we” debate in school libraries, and many public libraries have made news for their move toward the “bookstore model,” what is often called a more patron-friendly approach than the Dewey Decimal System.
I think the recent headlines regarding a lack of knowledge about the Holocaust just serve to reinforce how important it is to continue to allow access to and discussion of Mein Kampf. Only by remembering what happened and by studying Hitler’s mindset and psychology can we understand – as much as is possible – what happened and thereby try to prevent it from happening again. And any consideration of banning Mein Kampf should also consider the fact that book banning (and burning) was an early part of Hitler’s reign, too.
When the superintendent of the Dixie County School District sought to censor the reading lists of students, Library Media Specialist Lindsey Whittington stood up for intellectual freedom and fought the ban.
Pro tip number one: Pick a word any word – except maybe the hash tag #MeToo. The Me Too Movement, founded by a Black American woman named Tarana Burke to encourage empathy and empowerment for sexual assault survivors, became ubiquitous online and off-line in 2017. In China, women have been using the coded phrase “rice bunny” (米兔), pronounced as “mi tu” to get around would-be censors who would shut down conversations online about sexual harassment.
Banned Books Week 2018, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, will be held September 23 – 29. The 2018 theme, “Banning Books Silences Stories,” is a reminder that everyone needs to speak out against the tide of censorship.
Part of the Librarians Lead Against Censorship blog series. The Sauk Prairie High School Librarian, Lynn Evarts, remained very close to the situation throughout its unfolding and provided key leadership to the community on the matter. For her efforts, Evarts, plus her colleagues, earned the 2017 Lee Burress Intellectual Freedom Award from the Wisconsin Council of English Teachers.
Part of the Librarians Lead Against Censorship blog series. In 2017 Academy School District 20’s Challenger Middle School Library faced a challenge to the book Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. A parent challenged the book, objecting to language, alcohol use, violence and sexual descriptions. I had a chance to talk to Gina T. Schaarschmidt, the Challenger Middle School librarian, about the challenge and her experience working with the Office for Intellectual Freedom.
Part of the Librarians Lead Against Censorship blog series. Issues like censorship can feel big and overwhelming. My advice would be that there is always, always, something that you can do. Change what you can, where you can, when you can. Because if we don’t, who will?
“I want a president” is a famous poem in some circles. It is a sacrosanct work in others, an emblem of an angry generation reeling from the AIDS epidemic, environmental degradation and trickle-down economics. Written by Zoe Leonard in 1992, it describes the desire for a different kind of world than the one she inhabits, and it was partly inspired by Eileen Myles’ write-in campaign for president 1991-1992 election. Myles is herself also an artist and published poet, winning a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012.
In 1988, a Supreme Court case stripped student journalists of their First Amendment rights. Now, three decades later, students are standing up and bringing new bills like the Cronkite New Voices Act to the courts.