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Hello Adam, school librarians, and our favorite Latin e. e. cummings fan et
you're absolutely right...
as is often the case, I let my emotions cloud my responses without first
understanding the entire argument of the opposition...
* * *
As the "label" (some call it a "title" - it is not my interpretation in
this instance) at the top of the article indicates, it is an
interpretation... the interpretation of the ALA.  Labeling is a no-no in
educational circles... we don't "label" students or individuals with
handicaps (challenges)... we don't "label" our books, it is a tool of
censors.  Regardless of what we call it, or the word we use, we must still
have a word (okay, phrase) for indicating the group of students for which
"normal" does not fit...  and no matter how much we would want it
otherwise, there will always be students who don't learn at a comparatively
similar rate with their classmates (in fact, they lag way behind and need
special help and attention); who don't have similar physical abilities than
their same age colleagues (in fact, they can't stand or walk or run or
write for lack of ability, or legs, feet or hands); and who don't have the
social skills, or cognitive abilities, to understand when they are being
used, ridiculed, or insulted.  So, no matter the term we used in the past,
the term we use now, or the term we will use in the future - that group
will always exist.  No amount of social engineering (lowering of scores) or
re-designating of the identification of the target group (changing the
label) will change their mediocre skills, inadequate abilities, and
sub-standard achievements.  The argument that a category, designation,
descriptor, or any term used in the clarification of the composition of a
group of people is not a label is foolish...  I sure took a long while to
get to that point, didn't I.  Well, I can be foolish at times...
* * *
Let's examine each paragraph:
Paragraph 1 - ALA definition of label ... not necessarily one I can agree
with at any time... and especially about libraries.
Paragraph 1, subparagraph 2 - According to the ALA, it opposes collection
development and selection policies ... so how do librarians discern what is
appropriate for their libraries and what isn't?
Paragraph 1, subparagraph 3 - "Libraries" don't advocate anything - they're
inanimate objects.  Now, the librarians who work there might have some
strong emotions about the items contained in their libraries.  When asked,
they will likely respond with their favorite resources - or more likely,
they will respond with what they believe is appropriate for the person
asking for the assistance.
Paragraph 2 - Using keywords in the MARC records for identifying levels and
points earned for reading quizzes (Reading Counts! and the like) are not
permitted since they are the opinions of independent, private, commercial
Paragraph 3 - If a library system creates a policy for every branch in its
system to make it easy for patrons to find items in every branch, should
patrons who disagree sue the library system?  Although not law, a
system-wide rule is just as effective, no?  The method would not have the
power of law (the support of the sheriff) - but patrons might disagree just
the same.
Paragraph 4 - It appears that librarians are damned if we do and damned if
we don't... we're not to advocate or encourage the use of systems used by
printers, vendors, or professional reviewers yet we can't ignore them,
delete them, or leave them out of the MARC records either... hmmm...
Paragraph 5 - "does not exclude the adoption of organizational schemes
designed as directional aids or to facilitate access to materials." ...
could that include, heaven forbid!, labels?  Ahhh, not labels - they're
access facilitators!  Not labels - they're directional aids!
So we've come full circle... hmmmm . . . what was the ALA definition of
label again?

With tongue firmly lodged half-way in cheek...  Earl J.

At 02:21 PM 2/29/2004, you wrote:
>I would disagree with the comments made by Mr. Moniz.
>The ALA statement concludes as follows:
>"The American Library Association opposes efforts which aim at closing
>any path to knowledge. This statement, however, does not exclude the
>adoption of organizational schemes designed as directional aids or to
>facilitate access to materials."
>The ALA statement, in my interpretation, refers to categorizing
>materials in such a way as to prevent their access.
>Just my thoughts.
>The ALA statement concludes with
>Adam Janowski
>Library Media Specialist
>Naples High School
>1100 Golden Eagle Circle
>Naples, FL 34102
>Phone: 239-430-6644 Ext. 390
>Fax: 239-430-6673

Aloha y'all ... Earl J.
US Army Special Operations Command
History Directorate
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
"Just an old Maui boy with a poor sense of direction...
working his way home - one state at a time -
currently working in the State of Confusion!"

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