Banned Book Week and Children

search-engines-web.com asks "How do Librarians resolve the conflict between Exposing Children to certain material and the Intentions behind Banned Book Week?The newportnewstimes.com Reports Books for children face the most challenges. But such challenges aren't simply an expression of a point of view, but an attempt to remove materials from public use, which restricts others' access to them."Even if the motivation to ban or challenge a book is well-intentioned, the outcome is detrimental," said Jenkins. "Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves. For children, decisions about what books to read should be made by the people who know them best - their parents."

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

feel for normalcy

.......“For children, decisions about what books to read should be made by the people who know them best - their parents."I could not disagree more. The library is one of the first important opportunities to step outside of the limited belief systems of their parents. All children have a feel for “normalcy� based on how they were raised and the core beliefs and values of their parents. Growing up is getting outside that feel and replacing it with experience, knowledge and adventure.This is how a child grows up to find his “own voice� and his own sense of self. Otherwise, the child becomes a “chip off the old block�. That is how inter generational abuse travels. Libraries represent a knowledge base that is “not their parents�. Thats a good thing.Fifty percent of parents are below average intelligence.

Re:Please, please, please

"Please, please, please keep making it, you have no idea how much it helps my side."What's your side on this?

Re:Please, please, please

The small 'c' conservative side that has no trouble pulling books based on content and age appropriatness.

Children's books

In today's politically charged and motivated society it is hard to tell whether something is good for children or advancing an agenda. Children are very impressionable and with so many opportunities in society to experiment with harmful substances and behaviors raising a child is more difficult than a generation ago. If a library is a place where children can break free from parental philosophical and reading parameters what is the message. Can a 10 year old really develop clear and productive reading habits on their own, which is implied. Suppose a family has a strong religious philosophy which does not negate society but also teaches a system of values, the child may read materials that give fuel for rebellion and asperation for unhealthy lifestyles due to their lack of maturity. Maturity is an essential element in evaluating what is healthy and what is not. I am not saying that people shouldn't have the freedom to write what they want. I am only saying that giving an immature mind adult choices is dangerous and unfair to the child. Could there be agenda hidden in having immature children see other philosophies? I don't know, but as someone once told me, " you don't go into a hospital ward to see how healthy you are." A mature mind is better equipped than a child.

Re:feel for normalcy

"Fifty percent of parents are below average intelligence."

My Dad has a 7th grade education. I'll trust his judgement long before I trust anybody who thinks they have "superior" judgement just because they are "educated".

The entire premise of your arguement is that libraries are an opportunity to undermine a parent's influence and that is the most honest arguement I've heard from the liberal end of this board to date. Please, please, please keep making it, you have no idea how much it helps my side.

Re:feel for normalcy

The library is one of the first important opportunities to step outside of the limited belief systems of their parents.

That is, without a doubt, one of the more profound things I've ever read here on LISNews. And since we have some of the most intelligent people I've ever known, like Jessamyn and Walt, that's really saying something.

Every so often we get a few people in with their kids and you just look at the parents with wonder thinking "My god, who allowed these people to breed?" A co-worker lamented the fate of a child whose parents had the combined IQ of a bag of rocks. She bemoaned how the child had no chance in life because, look who she had to teach her. I jumped in with my own comment (naturally) and stated "Hey, at least they're smart enough to bring her to the library on a regular basis."

I'm extremely open to new ideas and new modes of thought. And I realize that some of my beliefs may be controversial, unprovable, or just plain damn wrong sometimes. I hope to at least instill in my own child that it is a sign of true wisdom when you're able to reverse yourself and your beliefs when faced with strong evidence against them. But like any collector of information, I tend to keep stuff around that supports a certain side of something. I don't own a single book by Ann Coulter. Why? Because I think she's a tremendous psycho hose bitch. But I hope to be intelligent enough that, if my son wants to see the conservative side of an issue, I can go take him to the library and get it for him. Course, by the time he starts getting politically curious Ann Coulter will probably have long faded out to be replaced by another psycho hose bitch.

Great Minds Don't Think Alike

It's Turner & Great Western Dragon Vs. GregS* & Eli! Good Vs. Evil, right Vs. wrong!Both sides have raised some good points. One side says let the kids decide, it's actually good for them to read something ma & pa might not approve of, it's our job to provide just about everything for them to read. The other side says children are very impressionable & immature and it's our job to pull books based on content and age appropriateness.I raise the same question every time this comes up, who can we decide what's appropriate? There are people who think Harry Potter is inappropriate, there are others who feel the same about the Bible, who gets to decide? There is less gray area here than I first imagined, as many books will fall into this area where someone would say burn it, and someone else would say required reading. When we (as librarians) start to get into the business of deciding what's best for the children we all lose. I don't know how such decisions can be made that would make everyone happy, I doubt that's possible, but to error on the side of caution begins to sound like censorship to me. I'm just glad I'm not working in a public library and faced with such decisions!Just dig back in the censorship topic archives here, look at the books that have been challenged and ask yourself, is this something that should be taken off the shelves "for the children?" My guess is there'd be much disagreement.

Re:Great Minds Don't Think Alike

Eh, I hate to see it come down to an "us vs. them" mentality. I feel no special sympathy towards liberals or conservatives. Like Bogart said in Casablanca when asked if he had no sympathy for the fox and he replied that he understood the point of view of the hound. I can see where some people believe that books should be pulled due to issues with age appropriateness and the like. Should a five year old be reading Laurell K. Hamilton? Probably not, after all sex and vampires aren't exactly appropriate reading material for that age. But that's my belief and there's probably more than a few people out there who'd agree and more than a few who disagree.

However, my job as a librarian is not to force my beliefs on other people. My job, and I believe, my ethical standing, says let the reader decide what's appropriate and if the reader is a child, then let the parent decide what's appropriate. I was reading Agatha Christie novels in grade school. (Poirot is the MAN.) The school librarian hated that. She thought I should be reading Ramona books or stuff by Blume. Yeah I enjoyed Blume, but I really like Christie as well. And it was my mom and dad's decision that dictated that it was okay for me to read Poirot novels if I wanted to. After all, my parents bore the responsibility to raise me, not the librarian.

The original argument that a book on sex doesn't belong in a high school doesn't hold water since I, and almost everyone I knew, went through high school in an almost crusading attempt to get laid. Teens have sex on their minds just like they have sports and fashion on their minds. And if they're going to be thinking about it, I think it's our job as librarians to provide them access to concise and unbiased information about it. At the very least we should have both sides of the argument represented in a collection. For every book on having sex, there should be one which favours abstaining. If they're thinking about it, it should be available. You won't find many books by Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, or Al Franken in most high school libraries. Why? Because most teens really don't care much about current politics. Though if, by some chance, you work for a school where a lot of teens do care about such things, those books should be around.

I take exception when a parent says "This isn't appropriate for children!" and waves around a complaint form. See it may not be appropriate for their child. Hell it may not be appropriate for my child. But ya know something, bucko, I'll make that decision, thank you very much. I don't need some other parent I don't even know telling me that a book isn't good for my kid. I'll raise my child, you raise yours and leave the poor librarians out of this. You may not want your kid to have Pepsi, but dammit, don't stop my kid from buying it if I say it's okay.

Re:Great Minds Don't Think Alike

Is that supposed to be who should decide or how can we decide? I suppose the answer is the same either way. We as librarians make the initial decision by reading reviews and being familiar with our collection. However there are checks and balances in the form of Trustees for public library and a school board for schools.

The boards themselves can and should question what the *focus* of collection development should be. Occasionally we do let our own biases slip in and we find ourselves stocking up on materials that only cover one side of the issue. One non-political example would be the fact that I buy a small fraction of Mac computer books compared to Windows books. Less even then the percentage of Macs sold compared to Windows computers. If somebody complained that they had a Mac but found no Mac books on the shelf that would be a legitimate complaint.

Then there is the general public who has every right to challenge any book purchased by the library in the same way they can challenge how money is spent by any local government body. At that point it comes down to number of challenges per book. We hear Harry Potter gets challenged a lot but that's because of its popularity. How many times does it get challenged in the individual communities, how many people are actually upset its there? 1? or 100? Probably 1 or 2. In most cases the board is going to review the challenge and throw it out as silly. In a case like Gurlz, which we've been talking about in another thread, as word gets out on its excessive detail then its possible that within a single community there are going to be a lot more people calling the Board and asking why that book is in a collection for young adults and possibly pre-adolescents.

Feel for Normalcy

Blake I think I am saying more then your nutshell that “its good for kids to read things mom and pop disapprove of�.....and I do not agree that it is reduced to “what side are you on�...If there is a side I am on it is the “kids side�here is my quote
  â€?Libraries represent a knowledge base that is “not their parentsâ€?. Thats a good thing. “This means the possibility of exposure to literature, information and a world view that is not part of their parents life. Consider being born into an environment where poverty, English as a second language, abuse, addiction , general ignorance, crime, and general anti social behaviour ...to mention a few are the prevailing conditions..If you are a child of a family containing any of those elements and they express themselves de-constructively ....then you are behind a big 8 ball.It is about “going beyond ones parents biases and limitationsâ€? Expanding the childs “feel for normalacyâ€? which is essential when “skewedâ€?. It is a much bigger subject than censorship and will continue to be so long after this culturally polarized moment of “sidesâ€?. “Sidesâ€? is a red herring with respect to the issue of “going beyond “ parental bias.I'm saying the library plays (can play) an important role of access to “new ideasâ€? that can be chosen by a child. It need not “undermine parentsâ€? but I concede that it may well do so in some cases.And when it does it might be a “good thingâ€? for the development of the child.

Re:Feel for Normalcy

I agree with about 90% of that but saying this:

"Consider being born into an environment where poverty, English as a second language, abuse, addiction , general ignorance, crime, and general anti social behaviour ...to mention a few are the prevailing conditions.."

Is much different than saying this:

"The library is one of the first important opportunities to step outside of the limited belief systems of their parents."

Re:feel for normalcy

Thanks for the compliment ...I don't get many of those. Here is a situation you might think about.Suppose you are Anne Coulters daughter....How do you develop your own point of view....do you ask Anne to go and get you a book ?Or do you choose your own ? What do you do? How do you find your own voice.?How do you avoid becoming an Anne clone? Would Anne “let go� and not require her child to support her world view ? What would the childs feel for normalcy be? Imagine that... a little "psycho hose something or other"Rhetorical questions...sure...but I'm pretty sure the Anne is not part of the answer and a library would probably be involved.
 

Re:Feel for Normalcy

Greg wrote�Is much different than saying this:"The library is one of the first important opportunities to step outside of the limited belief systems of their parents."No GregIt is exactly the same. I just described them in terms that were graphic and obvious.There are more subtle versions that have the same relationship to a child “finding his own voice�.Examples:Superstitious parents raising children with superstition as a as a feel for normalcy.Military families raising children with the military as a feel for normalcy.Liberal families raising children with liberal values as a feel for normalcy.Conservative families raising children with conservative values as a feel for normalcy.Holly Jihad families raising children with Holy Jihad values as a feel for normalcyAll of these are values brought on by an accident of birth. From the point of view ofa child's growth and development and finding “his /her own voice they are limitations.They are all less than what is possible and none of them have been chosen by the child.The library is often the first start of “sensing other possibilities�. Sensing other possibilities is the first step in “finding your own voice�. Finding your own voice does not necessarily “undermine “ parental value� but it sometimes does. It definitely alters itThats evolution.

Re:Feel for Normalcy

"Superstitious parents raising children with superstition as a as a feel for normalcy.
Military families raising children with the military as a feel for normalcy.
Liberal families raising children with liberal values as a feel for normalcy.
Conservative families raising children with conservative values as a feel for normalcy.
Holly Jihad families raising children with Holy Jihad values as a feel for normalcy"

The fact that you list those things as being equivalent is a little scary.

There are two things going on here:

1. A parent's purpose is to raise a child with a certain of values to prepare them to experience the outside world. It is inevitable that a child will see things that go against their belief system. The purpose of that belief system is to deal with that very experience. This is what I see wrong with that statement.

2. There are times, all too often, when a parent fails that, even abuses it. Issues like abuse and addiction are certainly oppurtunities for libraries to offer an alternative view or even views on how to deal with the situation. Poverty as an issue is an oppurtunity for anyone regardless of age to use the library.

There is a distiction between those two and it is part of a librarian's job as well as patrons to find an acceptable medium between them.

Re:Feel for Normalcy

Well GregWere getting closer to being on the same page but not quite yet....The “scary equivocations� have one common denominator ...they are belief systems the child was born into ...one set of them is gross and obvious...the other set is subtle and can be taken for granted...but none of them are of the child's creation...So bearing in mind what I am bringing to the table is the idea of a child moving past imposed beliefs and into his/her own voice as they grow into adulthood and eventually have “their own� belief system based upon their knowledge and experience and the nature of their philosophy.This is the key. Their “own voice� This is what good writers, artists philosophers andall round “interesting people� acquire.I disagree that there is any one thing that parents do and that there is a singularity of purpose parents have that you describe. Parents do a great number of different things.I do agree that some parents do what you describe and give their children advantages.However, half of them perform their tasks (what ever they are) below average...by statistical definition.I have no clue how this fits into the librarians job description.I am making the point that for many children the library is the first accessible pointwhere a process of gathering alternative points of view can “kick in� in a constructive way. It is a place where a child can choose what interests them. I think this is important.Not everyone does. Some find the concept threatens their belief system.There are of course nonconstructive places for youth to get an alternative world view. But that is an other story.

Re:Feel for Normalcy

I was tempted to agree with a lot of what you said but that's the problem with this type of philosophy, its very tempting. After reading this segment again however, I came to my senses:

"So bearing in mind what I am bringing to the table is the idea of a child moving past imposed beliefs and into his/her own voice as they grow into adulthood and eventually have “their own� belief system based upon their knowledge and experience and the nature of their philosophy.

This is the key. Their “own voice� This is what good writers, artists philosophers and
all round “interesting people� acquire."

I'm reminded of the only Woody Allen movie I think I've seen beginning to end called 'Bullets Over Broadway.' The philosphical core of that movie is that artists, true artists, cannot be inhibited by the same moral code as regular men. They have to break the rules in order to understand them. To me that is an excuse for behavior without consequences.

A child can grow up to have different ideas about things then their parents. He can appreciate jazz even though the parents only listen to classical, he can love Monet even though there are only Picasso's (prints) hanging at home. But a belief system, a moral code, a view of right and wrong, should be something that lasts throughout his lifetime.

As for this statement:

"However, half of them perform their tasks (what ever they are) below average...by statistical definition"

I strongly disagree with. You can't quantify a parent's role. That's simply not mathematically possible.

Re:Feel for Normalcy

“They have to break the rules in order to understand them. To me that is an excuse for behavior without consequences. “ .....What an interesting comment to bring to the table. You might have missed something significant about that movie. Woody Allen is a comedian, he plays a hopeless neurotic. He is trying to make you laugh. It is not serious. He is literaly a clown.
  Ironically, I don't think there is “behavior with out consequencesâ€?.Consequences are the fundamental tool of Early Childhood Education.Doubly ironic...Woody Allen created terrible consequences for himself when he broke the rules and it was revieled he was having sex with his underage step daughter.Back to the pointI'm not exactly talking about breaking rules here Greg...more like wandering through a library picking out a book and discovering a “new worldâ€?.... seems like an important library function....“But a belief system, a moral code, a view of right and wrong, should be something that lasts throughout his lifetime. “...probably true but first you have to acquire one....upon acquisition perhaps that might be called “your own voiceâ€?.

Re:Feel for Normalcy

"Woody Allen created terrible consequences for himself when he broke the rules and it was revieled he was having sex with his underage step daughter."

Actually he didn't, he's still more famous then infamous and has no trouble getting big box office names to star in his movies. And while he is a comedian he is not a clown. He is considered an artist for pointing out the truth in a funny way. I agreed with his view only in that is how some artists think, not thats how it should be.

"“But a belief system, a moral code, a view of right and wrong, should be something that lasts throughout his lifetime. “...

probably true but first you have to acquire one....upon acquisition perhaps that might be called “your own voice�."

Over at captaincomics.us this is what they like to call a 'horserace'. You think a belief system is acquired, I think it is given.

Re:Feel for Normalcy

If it is given ...you do not have your own voice ...you have the voice of the "giver"that is the point!

Re:Feel for Normalcy

your own voice should not be hinged upon your belief system

Syndicate content