Don't Ask Alice: Houston Officials Remove Library's Link

Wordy1 writes "NewstoHouston reports that Houston’s public library website was forced to remove a link for teens to Go Ask Alice, Columbia University’s Health Question & Answer Internet Service. City council member Michael Berry was the first to demand removal of the link, and now he wants the library director fired. The link had been on the website for over two years without any complaints."

The link remains on an ALA/YALSA pathfinder, which in 1999 was topic of crusades by the likes of Mrs. Laura and David Burt.

Apparently none of these people read today's The Hindu article A ban only makes a book popular.

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Are you kidding me right now?

"And that's what I like about the South...."

I shouldn't joke. I work in Puritan New England. Maybe our website will be next....

Some excerpts from the website

The Sexuality page has gems such as "Unlike me, I want a huge penis for my baby-to-be." The for the media page mentions "college health issues", but says nothing about high school. The newspaper article states

The only medical doctor on Houston City Council was horrified that the site was given to teenagers as the top source for health information.
Is there a possibility that a medical doctor may be more qualified to judge the age appropriateness of medical information than a bunch of librarians?

Re:Some excerpts from the website

>>"Is there a possibility that a medical doctor may be more qualified to judge the age appropriateness of medical information than a bunch of librarians?"

In some cases that may be possible, but it is not true in this case. Not all medical doctors are created equal. The fact is that most public health professionals I know will tell you that Go Ask Alice is an excellent award-winning site providing a valuable service for teens. The health information is reliable and the style and tone appeals to teens. Librarians can judge that.

You can email the hysterical Houston city councilman here:
atlarge4@cityofhouston.net

Hysterical?

To call the city council person hysterical I think is a stretch. I think there is a large percentage of people that would have issues with some of the material in the site.

For example:
Boyfriend's balls move to their own beat
What should I do with her breasts?

This is more than just sexual health information.

Sure it is all information and we don't want to be living in puritan days but I think you are not in touch with reality if you don't comprehend that some people are going to have issues with a link to this site.

Re:Hysterical?

Look, this is a website that has won accolades from the American Public Health Association and the Harvard Health Letter, among others. But a Houston city council member is calling for heads to roll because a large urban public library linked to this site? If he's not hysterical then he is guilty of shameless political grandstanding. I don't give a hoot about the busybodies who have "issues" with this site. I hope more people link to it.

Re:Hysterical?

Harvard has long been (in)famous for elitist, liberal views on social issues, which of course sounds like gospel truth to people of that political ilk.

Re:Hysterical?

>>If he's not hysterical then he is guilty of shameless political grandstanding.

Is it not possible that the city council person might have the honest good faith view that a web site that discusses breast fondling might not be appropriate. That it has to be political grandstanding? And let us assume that it is political grandstanding. I can guarantee you that there are people in Houston that are going to having serious issues with the site whether the council person is grandstanding or not.

>> I don't give a hoot about the busybodies who have "issues" with this site. I hope more people link to it.

These busybodies also have another name "taxpayers". As I librarian I know that you can't bend to every whim of the public in regards to content because you would then have empty shelves. But to treat people with contempt is asking for problems. How about some out of the box thinking. How can we keep the information yet give the community the feeling that the library is not throwing material they consider unapproriate in their face?

As a librarian I of course support libraries but if in my local community I had a library director either conservative or liberal that responded with "I don't give a hoot" when the community raised concerns about material in the library I would be voting "no" on any library bond issues.

Re:Hysterical?

Bibliofuture your sensitivity to the local shareholders, i.e. taxpayers, concerns is absolutely correct. And refreshing.

I've said on many occasions that this is a critical time for public libraries. Public support must now be earned, thanks in large part to the ideologues on Huron St. who graciously "hold the coats" of the publics while they are left to fight with their constituents on these so-called "censorship" issues.

Oops, my local library uses this link too

Lubbock public library links to Go Ask Alice as well.

If this were such a hot-button issue, wouldn't more libraries have removed this link? Especially Texas libraries.

A Google search for those sites that link to Go Ask Alice gives thousands of hits. I am not sure how to winnow this down to only libraries, but I will guess that it's 100 or more.

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