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.
One of the main talking points you’ll see again and again when it comes to fighting book challenges is that you should be able to back up any purchase you make with your collection development policy. Many collection development policies cite professional review sources as one of the major ways library staff find quality materials to add to their collection. For library staff that work with youth, School Library Journal (SLJ) is a go-to professional review source. That’s why SLJ put together the webinar: From Book Submission to SLJ Star: Insight on the School Library Journal review process to explain what goes into their reviews. For this webinar Shelly Diaz, Reviews Editor for School Library Journal, is joined by Mahnaz Dar, Senior Editor, Professional Reading & Reference for SLJ, Ashley Leffel a middle school librarian and reviewer for SLJ, and Kiera Parrott, former Reviews Director for SLJ and LJ.
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.”
Child sex abuse is a serious problem but how do we talk to kids about it? How do we give children the tools and language to understand how to reach out if they are victims or if they know someone who is? There is no easy answer. One way that author Tony Abbot chose was the route of storytelling. Sharing stories can provide both a mirror and a window.
Regulations have been proposed and are being considered by the Virginia Board of Education which would require local school districts to tell parents whenever books or textbooks contain “sexually explicit material” are being used for teaching.