There are times that the entire universe seems to be thrumming with the same woes, the same prejudice, and the same amazing people standing up to it all.
Liz B tells us about book banning in the Burlington County Public Library of Revolutionary Voices, a GLBT title. The banning was done quietly, on the sly. In other words, it was done spinelessly as a way of avoiding confrontation. Frankly, I think this is the most prevalent type of book banning happening in libraries today. Someone makes complaining noises about a book and it conveniently disappears so there is no reason for complaint.
Let’s ignore the fact that libraries have request for reconsideration forms for just such a situation. It is sooo much easier if the forms are not even used and the library can just “fix” the problem quietly.
Also today, I had the pleasure of reading a great piece on Pinched Nerves by Brent, a gay teen book blogger who fought for the right to read books about kids like him at his school and his public library. He’s my hero!
I have other heroes, who make me proud to be a librarian:
The West Bend Public Library here in Wisconsin who went through a horrible time with someone who wanted to ban around 80 books from the library. They followed their policies to the letter, which allowed them to retain all of the titles in their collection. The battle was fought very publicly and strengthened libraries around the state in our resolve to stand up for books.
Currently, the Fond du Lac School District also here in Wisconsin, is working their way through a list of books being questioned in their school libraries. So far all of the books have been retained without changes. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the neighboring community of North Fond du Lac where a sticker was added to a book deemed appropriate for high school students. Man, what a slippery slope that is! And what a sad decision to make.
Let’s remember in the midst of all of this, we can all find the heroes to give us courage to stand up, insist on the freedom to read, and not bow to pressure to make our libraries something they are not.