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Hi All,

I*ve been following the *Lucky* censorship debate as it has raised many fundamental 
questions in my mind. Sadly, many of the posts suggest that we are indeed what the 
media has portrayed: fusty book marms who feel compelled to censor. Yes, selection 
does inherently mean we censor and not necessarily in a negative way; after all, as 
it has been pointed out, we all have limited budgets. However, I think that in 
pre-selecting a Newbery title based on *what*s age appropriate* or *what*s best for 
our community* we shirk our responsibility to provide access and to support 
intellectual freedom. 

Does anyone remember ALA*s *Library Bill of Rights*? The AASL has the *Freedom to 
Read Statement*. The International Reading Association has the *Censorship 
Statement*. The National Council of Teachers of English has *The Student*s Right to 
Read*. Does this mean that when we become library media specialists we suppress our 
professional ethos? Who makes us the arbiters of morality for an entire community? 
Just who are we protecting from possibly inflammatory material? Our school 
district? Our administrators? Ourselves? We*re certainly not protecting children*.

How can we let a fear that a solitary title may provoke controversy interfere with 
connecting children with good, quality literature that may stimulate their 
curiosity and intellectual or emotional development? I*ve been bored by some 
Newbery winners, but don*t we let readers make connections and decide what they 
like? How dare we take away that right. I doubt the word scrotum will mar a person 
for life. In our collective years of teaching, how many of us have really dealt 
with a community hearing over a library book?

I find this all very alarming. Yes, the Newbery Committee awards challenging titles 
that stir both mind and heart; isn*t this a key standard of any literary award? If 
we were to strip this criteria away, are we then awarding based on popularity? 
Goosebumps and Pony Pals would then win year after year. I thought we had literary 
awards to guide us in collection development, not censorship. I have had several 
students pride themselves on reading Newbery winners; I, for one, will not squelch 
their enjoyment, spirit, and sense of accomplishment based on the small probability 
of offending an adult.


Laura Brooks
Library Media Teacher
Amerman Elementary School
Northville, MI

"Unless someone like you cares a whole lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not."
 -The Lorax, Dr. Seuss

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