In many recent high profile book challenges, parents and politicians have asserted that they know best when it comes to selecting and deselecting library materials, but librarians go through significant training to develop relevant and appropriate collections.
The School Library Journal’s survey on children’s/YA collection development and weeding, published this past June, paints the picture one would expect: circulation of print materials was down 73%, circulation of ebooks was up 91%, and both public and school libraries decided to purchase more digital materials. However, the report did contain at least one surprising piece of information: a “quarter of respondents…say their weeding criteria have changed over the last few years.” One reason for these changes? A growing “awareness of unconscious racial bias, inclusion and diversity.”
Overall Rosenbloom’s book engaged me intellectually in a way I was not expecting, and still addressed the issue (who the heck makes books made out of human skin?) that got me to pick up the book in the first place. It turned out to be a really interesting lens through which to consider medical ethics, ethics regarding human remains, and collection development ethics all rolled into one unique issue
It’s frustrating to see a Library Trustee – presumably someone who loves libraries – making these statements because they seem so antithetical to what libraries do. It’s not entirely clear what he wants as a solution, but at the very least it seems like he’s asking the library to ignore current events and to hide collections on controversial subjects. I’m also saddened by the implication that by including something on the library website the library is “promoting” it. Librarians buy and check out materials every day we disagree with; that’s our job.
When we provide library patrons with books that tell a fuller story about Asian American experience, we can help eliminate the conditions in which ignorance and fear flourish.
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.
It is not uncommon for writers to choose the route of self-publishing because the traditional publishing route is difficult, if not impossible, for some writers to enter. This is especially true if you happen to be a member of a marginalized group. Self-publishing is probably the only opportunity available to you.
This past summer, patrons around the country challenged libraries about their subscriptions to Teen Vogue. The online article that caused the controversy was published on the Teen Vogue website and was about anal sex. The article was not published in the paper copies of the magazine, but patrons called on libraries to end Teen Vogue subscriptions because of its online content. A public library director, who wishes to remain anonymous, shares how she and her library staff worked through the challenge.
By: Naomi Bates It has happened to me in the library…coming in fresh from another library or just being a new librarian, you may experience the same thing I have. […]