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I’m not sure what angers me more about the recent article by Meghan Gurdon in the Wall Street Journal about the coarseness, violence, and overall lack of quality in young adult books today: her insistence that any books that give teens a look at reality is bad for them or can even promote destructive and infectious behavior, or the list of “Books We Can Recommend for Young Adult Readers” on the side of article, broken down into books for boys and girls.
Full article: http://www.closedstacks.com/?p=3336
The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) recently recognized author Lauren Myracle, school librarian Dee Ann Venuto, and 19-year-old college student Jordan Allen for fighting against censorship in schools.
NCAC's annual "Celebration of Free Speech and Its Defenders" ceremony in New York City brought together more than 150 authors, publishers, and First Amendment advocates to celebrate the work of the 36-year-old organization.
Venuto, a media specialist at the Rancocoas Valley High School in Mount Holly, NJ, was honored for her efforts to keep a list of gay-themed books on her library shelves. The titles Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology (Alyson, 2000) edited by Amy Sonnie.
Venuto followed her district's materials review policy, which outlines the steps that must be taken when library materials or other instructional material are questioned, when a local grassroots organization called the 9/12 Group challenged the books, drawing media attention.
Venuto says she's grateful to NCAC for spreading the word about the challenge and for the professional and personal support they gave her.
Librarian Cynthia Dobrez uses e-readers, bibliotherapy, and her own intuition in her middle school library in Michigan.
The American Library Association on Monday announced it has added another prize to its Stonewall Book Awards.
The Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature Award will recognize an English-language children's book “of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered experience.”
“Children's books regarding the LGBT experience are critical tools in teaching tolerance, acceptance and the importance of diversity,” Roberta Stevens, president of ALA, said in a statement.
“Our nation is one of diverse cultures and lifestyles and it is important for parents, educators and librarians to have access to quality children's books that represent a spectrum of cultures,” she added.
In making its announcement, the group cited figures by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that show 14 million children are being raised by a gay or lesbian parent and the latest Census data which estimates that more than 56 percent of gay households have at least one child under the age of 18.
Additional coverage in the NYTimes.
CALGARY, ALBERTA - An "inappropriate" relationship between a junior high school librarian and a student continued even after court-imposed orders forbade contact, police alleged Thursday.
The librarian, identified by QMI Agency sources as Agnes Kooy, reported to be in her late 40s, was charged this summer following a complaint brought forth by the parents of a 15-year-old boy who police say had entered into the "ongoing" relationship that began earlier in the school year.
Ted Flitton, a spokesman for the Calgary Board of Education, would not reveal the school in question, citing privacy legislation.
"What I can tell you is when Calgary Police Service told us in July that they had laid charges, we took immediate steps to have her removed from the school and all schools, and with a view to her not returning to work," Flitton said.
Police said the alleged relationship, consensual but illegal due to the boy's age, was brought to their attention by the family as well as the school.
"After remedies weren't satisfied through some sort of intervention with the parents and the school, they went to the police," Staff Sgt. Mark Hatchette told CTV.
Lamar (TX) High School’s library is in the midst of an overhaul that is shifting around more than the books. The project is redefining how the study space will be used and how students will access the information resources it holds.
More specifically, the conversion under way means fewer physical books on the shelves (and fewer shelves), but more equipment on site for tapping into the books, periodicals and research tools available in electronic formats.
As explained by Principal James McSwain, the project includes:
Laptop computers (100 now and hopefully 100 more to follow) that can be checked out for use only in the new center and accessible only by a student ID code that also connects to the new Lamar portal, “Sky Drive.”
Longer hours of operation, (6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.) to increase access to the new computer equipment and online information for students who might not have other study venues or research tools.
Space for peer tutoring and teacher-led tutorials, and
A small coffee bar that also serves healthy snacks for studying. Students in the culinary division of Lamar’s magnet program in business management will run the new amenity.
Lauren Myracle, author of ttyl and Luv Ya Bunches, two frequently challenged books, writes about the phenomenon of Banned Books. She says that parents anger springs from fear. Grown-ups who care about what kids read aren't the enemy.
From Shelf Awareness: As 2009's number one most frequently challenged author in the country (Mom, cover your ears), I often catch flack for writing about topics that certain parents, teachers and librarians would prefer I didn't. Like what? Like a teenager kissing her female best friend, or high school kids drinking too much and doing really stupid things, or a discussion of the pros and cons of thongs.
I've also come under fire for writing (lovingly) about a fifth-grader who has two moms, as well as a boy who won't join the Boy Scouts because of the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policies. Biology gets me in trouble, too. For example, parents get all kinds of upset about a scene in one of my novels in which a 12-year-old girl sits down with a box of tampons and attempts to make heads and tails of the dense instruction pamphlet.
In grappling with issues surrounding censorship, I've come to the conclusion that the enemy--at least in part--is the inevitable us/them dichotomy that arises in discussions of intellectual freedom.
From Telegraph Herald OnLine: A librarian saved Gary Paulsen's life. More than 100 people listened with amazement Sunday as the self-proclaimed street kid who became an award-winning author shared his life story at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque IA.
"I would be dead without libraries," said Paulsen, 71.
Dressed in a black turtleneck sweater and blue jeans, the author of three Newbery Honor Books -- "Hatchet," "Dogsong" and "The Winter Room" -- held nothing back.
Paulsen described how he sold newspapers as a teenager at bars. One cold night, he walked into a library to keep warm until the drunks got so sloshed that he could easily swipe extra change.
Once inside, something amazing happened. A librarian asked Paulsen if he would like a library card.
"Nobody gave me anything," Paulsen said. He was shocked when the librarian gave him his very own card with his name correctly spelled. She encouraged Paulsen to read more and more books over the next few years.
Although he failed in almost everything at school, Paulsen continued to read. "Everything that I am or ever will be in writing is because
of (that librarian)," he said.
Internet predators are using more sophisticated means to lure children into dangerous situations says The News Chief of Winter Haven, FL.
In July, the Federal Trade Commission released a report concerning child safety on the Internet. The report stated that in 2004, 45 percent of American children had a personal cellular phone, while in 2009, the number of children with a phone grew to 75 percent.
Cellular phones have become more sophisticated, allowing the user to access the Internet, chat, text, e-mail, photograph and play games - all on one device. The report raises concerns about the amount of personal information teens and older children inadvertently may share by making online purchases and browsing the Web. In response, the FTC has concentrated its efforts in combating Internet predators by expanding its Internet lab and developing tools to assist in mobile-related investigations.
This is something Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has been focusing on for much of his career. "There is no fail-safe protection from these predators," said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donna Wood. "This is a new frontier for crime.