Previous by DateNext by Date Date Index
Previous by ThreadNext by Thread Thread Index
LM_NET Archive

I've discussed this matter privately with a couple of other librarians
on this list, but perhaps now it's time to ask the important

If you are a librarian who understands the responsibilities of the job
(and the risks involved), do you bend to public pressures to remove
titles (or not select them) because of what "might" happen or do you
truly accept the responsibilities that most librarians have been
taught regarding the right to read and the right to access

In this matter, we are talking about a "word" in a many
books that are challenged, we are talking about words, actions, or
ideas that are considered "wrong" by those whose opinions are
different from those expressed in the book.   When this happens we
allow for a process to occur in which we review the entire work to
determine if it there is merit.... is it worth retaining?  Most of us
will select materials based upon written reviews in professional
sources and develop our collections based upon our instructional
curriculum and the community standards; however, if collection
development is done based upon the fear of losing our jobs or if we
allow others ourside of our profession to make those selections for us
through intimidation, then we need to take a hard look at ourselves
and our profession.

Part of every graduate level course in library science is the study of
censorship and those who attempt to censor information.  When we bend
to the pressure to remove a book for fear of "losing a job" or "losing
a paycheck"....I really wonder if our profession has lost one of the
most important aspects that we so desperately need in a democratic
society?  If we do not stand up and defend the rights of others to
access information, if we do not defend the freedom to read, then, in
my opinion, we do not need to be in the profession.  Anyone can
retreat in the heat of battle...but who among us now has the
professional stamina to continue to defend the rights of others who
cannot fight this battle at this moment in time?  What will be lost if
we continue to retreat?  Today it may be "Lucky"...but tomorrow it
could be YOUR favorite book...or more importantly, our nation's most
important liberty...the freedom of choice.

Having a job is important, supporting the curriculum is important, but
beyond that is the ethical responsibility of preserving what we, as
librarians, are called to do....provide access to information and
defend our professional choices based upon a selection policy that
reflects the standards of our community.  If you have selected a book
because of professional reviews that also reflect a  part of the
curriculum (as a Newbery title would be), then be strong enough, be
professional enough, and be prepared enough to stand up to protect
your professional decisions against the opinions or beliefs of others
who want to restrict the access of that information from ALL
individuals, rather than just their own children or themselves.

Individuals may choose NOT to read a book within your collection
because of their personal beliefs, but they do NOT have the right to
restrict EVERYONE from the accessibility of that material because of
their personal belief.  If you have selected this book (or any book)
for your collection based upon the professional reviews and your
curriculum guidelines, then you must also accept the responsibility as
a professional librarian to defend it against the questions, opinions,
and criticisms of others who do not want it within your collection.

If you do not stand up to protect the right of access to information,
then there is no need for a library..., eventually, you lose (your job) either way.

Yours, as always....the rabblerouser / fighter....


Shonda Brisco, MLIS
Library Media Specialist

Please note: All LM_NET postings are protected by copyright law.
  You can prevent most e-mail filters from deleting LM_NET postings
  by adding LM_NET@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU to your e-mail address book.
To change your LM_NET status, e-mail to:
In the message write EITHER: 1) SIGNOFF LM_NET  2) SET LM_NET NOMAIL
3) SET LM_NET MAIL  4) SET LM_NET DIGEST  * Allow for confirmation.
 * LM_NET Help & Information:
 * LM_NET Archive:
 * EL-Announce with LM_NET Select:
 * LM_NET Supporters:

LM_NET Mailing List Home