By: guest contributor Brian E. Wilson, ALSC Liaison for the ALA Committee on Professional Ethics. Acclaimed children’s author Kate Klise talks about how Cathy Evans’ “green dot collection” inspired her and her sister M. Sarah Klise to create the hilarious and inventive new novel, Don’t Check Out This Book!.
Overall, going to legislative advocacy day was a really positive experience. I think it is important for librarians to speak up about the importance of libraries and the needs of our patrons. Many of our patrons – especially in school libraries – can’t speak up for themselves about what they need. In today’s fiscal climate, I think we need to speak up to make sure we can continue to serve our patrons’ needs.
I Love My Librarian recipient Cathy Evans shares about her “green-dot” collection, an assortment of books addressing awkward and uncomfortable issues that her students can take and read anonymously, bypassing typical library policies.
Over the past few years, several state legislatures have considered strengthening media literacy skills instruction in schools based on recent research findings. But how can teachers instruct students to become critical consumers of media if politicians falsely label credible sources of information as “fake news?”
Columbia County, Georgia, Superintendent Sandra Carraway has limited students’ access to Nic Stone’s novel Dear Martin, calling it unacceptable and extreme. But as editor and publisher Phoebe Yeh responds, the book provides an accessible way for students to understand what is happening in their own backyards.
By: guest contributor Julia A. Nephew. “To me this has been a reminder of how invisible LGBTQ people in history still are in many school curriculum,” author Robin Stevenson said of District 200 canceling her Oct. 2 talk. “And it does make me feel like it’s important that all kids are aware of the really significant contributions of LGBTQ people throughout history, and it’s important that LGBTQ kids and teens in particular see their own lives and identities reflected in the books they read.”
Outrage tends to oversimplify. Outrage over outrage tends exacerbate this, and shift focus away from the situation at hand. In a recent emblematic example, the author of an editorial who is fatigued by “ban worries” over school library books strives to differentiate between omission and censorship. This side-debate, albeit valuable, misdirects from actual censorship occurring within the confines of the original controversy. Go figure.
As we were selecting the book, I came across a news article sent to me by Kristin Pekoll, Assistant Director of OIF about a school in Oregon that had banned the book along with nine other titles, including the dictionary, during the 2015-2016 school year https://theroguenews.com/19251/arts-enter/banned-books-at-ashland-high-school/
The reason listed next to Hawkins’ A Brief History of Time was “unethical context.”
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.
Dwindling local school budgets, increasing technology, and conflicting values can all contribute to the elimination of public and school librarian positions. However, these positions are critical to maintain in order to preserve principles of intellectual freedom in schools and in society.