School Libraries

Away From the Canon, Teen Books Hit Home

“Bitch.” “Pimp.” “Candy Licker.” “Snitch.” A few of the more lurid titles offered up by Mission High School students when asked what they were reading outside of class. The librarian explained that such books gain popularity through word-of-mouth. While some pegged as street lit or ghetto fiction are read mostly by African-American females, darker subject matters resonate across ethnic and gender lines.

On the Internet at Work? Stay 'Appropriate'

A librarian from Mount Anthony Middle School in Vermont was recently banned from working in all Vermont schools for inappropriately using the Internet.

David Wohlsen, a prekindergarten through Grade 12 library media specialist, surrendered his teaching license to the state Department of Education earlier this month on the grounds that he "violated school policy on appropriate Internet use," according to an Education Department Web site posting.

According to the school district's policy, unacceptable use of the Internet is "threatening or obscene materials, antisocial behaviors like hate mail, harassment or discriminatory remarks, for profit or illegal activities, product advertisement, political lobbying, other non-academic uses and non-educational mailing lists."

According to a previous article in the Bennington Banner, Wohlsen had retired at the beginning of this school year.

The Rutland Herald reports.

Supreme Court: Miami school can ban book on Cuba

School board members in Miami have won their battle to remove a children's book from the shelves of Miami-Dade school libraries because they said the book presented an inaccurate picture of life in Cuba.

On Monday, the US Supreme Court declined to take up the case of "Vamos a Cuba" – the little book that sparked a big controversy over alleged censorship in Miami.

The action lets stand a 2-1 ruling by the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals that the school board's decision to remove the book was not censorship in violation of the First Amendment. Instead, the Atlanta-based appeals court said the school board was seeking to remove the book because it contained substantial factual inaccuracies.

Full story

Library books go the way of the dodo

The venerable boarding school west of Boston -- the first in the United States to admit both boys and girls -- last summer undertook another first: It began getting rid of most of the library's books. In their place: a fully digital collection.
Library watchers say it could be the first school library, public or private, to forsake
ink-and-paper in favor of e-books. It also represents the first time that a school has placed its students' intellectual lives so fully into the hands of a few online publishers and electronic-device makers.

What Book Got You Hooked? And the winner is...

The fiftieth state!! Congratulations to Hawaii, the winner of 50,000 new books for kids in need from this year's "What Book Got You Hooked?" contest. Dr. Seuss' Beginner Books, including Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in The Hat, were this year's top vote-getters in the online campaign to discover what books got Americans hooked on reading.

Visit the What Book Got You Hooked Web site to view the entire list of top 25 books, see the final state rankings and learn how the books will be distributed in Hawaii.

"Huge Discussion" Triage

Through my Google Reader, there is a “huge discussion” among school librarians that has been brought to my attention. (Starts here, goes here and here, and onwards to here, and a nice summary of it all here). In talking with Buffy (The Unquiet Librarian) about it, I am now going to probably stick my nose into a debate I probably shouldn't get involved in. However, I hope this offers the participants an objective third party assessment of the discussion.

I think the one thing that both sides of the argument should do is concede to two specific certain points.

Baltimore Area Children's Librarian, Robert Hallett, Will Be Missed

Robert Hallett, a longtime Baltimore County school librarian who invented a spandex-clad superhero named Red Reader to motivate children to read, died Monday of a rare form of leukemia. The Reisterstown resident was 60.

Mr. Hallett, who was called Bob when not assuming one of his alter egos, spent much of his more than 30-year career as a library-media specialist at Riderwood Elementary in Towson, where staff, parents and students described him as central to the school's spirit and culture.
Baltimore Sun reports.

Buffett helps school dedicate new library

NEWTOWN, Pa. — George School alumna Barbara Dodd Anderson credits her close family friend, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, as the inspiration for her charitable giving, including the $5 million lead donation that helped build the school’s new library, which officially opened with a dedication ceremony yesterday.

Full story

Explicit 'Banned Book' Infuriates Virginia Father, Leads to School Review

Fox News: [John Davis] says he became "infuriated" when he discovered that his 16-year-old son brought home a book he'd been given in school that contained references to homosexuality, drug use and explicit sexual behavior.

The father's complaint has led to a school review of the novel, "Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky, which has been a source of controversy in other schools across the country.


"I don't think it's age-appropriate for anyone," [Davis] said. "I don't think adults should be reading that junk. It's pornography. They're corrupting his mind with this garbage."

Full story

(Right on the heels of Banned Book Week, no less. AW)

Brooklyn middle school students squeezed out library

Students and parents at a Brooklyn middle school are fuming after they were pushed out of their newly spruced-up library by an expanding charter school.

Junior High School 126 kids have severely limited access to the cozy, mural-painted reading spot this year so the three charters sharing the Greenpoint building can use the space for planning, meetings and small classes.
Read more.


Subscribe to School Libraries