Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I just read this article on Yahoo! News.


First off, there's a difference between deciding that Book X does not support the mission or policy of the parent institution and therefore should not be included on the library shelves, and banning it. Lauren Myracle probably wouldn't end up on the shelves of the local college library, or in the library of the local law school, but that doesn't mean that the book is BANNED from either of them, just that it doesn't support either institution's curriculum. Peter Spier, Norman Bridwell, or Margaret Wise Brown probably wouldn't end up there either.

Secondly (and more importantly), NO ONE, not even parents, has the right to ban a book for someone else. If this parent truly feels that strongly about this book, then she can make the decision about it for HER CHILD (and she should be strongly encouraged to do so). If her child brings it home, it is her right (and responsibility) to say, "Honey, I don't want you reading that book right now, because I think it deals with issues that are more appropriate for older children. Let's take it back to the library so you can pick out something else, and in two or three years, you can check it out again."

But to say that she doesn't want ANY child who is the same age as her child to be exposed to the book is NOT within her rights. She does NOT have the right to say, "I don't believe that this book is appropriate for any child under the age of 10, and therefore, I do not want any child who is under the age of ten ever to have to come into contact with it." And it isn't her decision to say whether or not the book supports her school's curriculum, either -- and that would be the only reason why the school librarian would decide not to put it on the shelf.

Not every book in every library is all sugar and roses. There are some really racy or violent or disturbing tomes out there. There are books in my library that (if I had children) I would not want them reading. Mein Kampf comes to mind most readily. There are also books that, if I had young children, I wouldn't want them to read until they were older. Like Twilight. But if someone else were to pick up either Mein Kampf or Twilight and decide they wanted to read it, that's their right to do so, regardless of their age. And regardless of what I, or ANYONE ELSE, thinks.

So lady? Learn to do your own darn job and review the books your child picks out. And let other parents do the same for their kids.


No comments: