During my work in trying to reduce the volume of books from my inventory, I have thought a lot about censorship. I hereby state unequivocally that I have always been against censorship, and the current hysteria at certain school board meetings in our nation grates against my position. Having been a news reporter back in my day, I attended some pretty wild school board meetings. The parents who would show up to protest (almost anything) to do with teaching, teachers, or education in general. My favorites were objection to requiring girls to wear special gym clothes, which were always ugly; the great brew-ha-ha about students smoking; the length of boys’ hair; and the frantic issue of expelling pregnant girls from school.
So anyway, I won’t belabor the subject and cut right to my current thoughts.
I have a great number (several hundred) childrens’ books, most of which came from two of my main inventory sources, who were school teachers. I have decided not to donate “all” of the books to the Goodwill because of the current censorship craze some places in the United States. I also don’t want to list multiple-lots of random childrens’ literature, or even grade-level non-fiction or series books (I think they call them chapter books now.) Also, I do separate the occasional book that even I would prefer kids not have access to. Even these I would classify as “age appropriate.”
Six-year old girls don’t care about “how Susie got her boyfriend” but 11-year-old’s might. That’s what I call age-appropriate, but even that is subjective, and I am not comfortable deciding who gets to read what, and I would never in a million years support any legislative or otherwise action that would entitle random outraged parents to close down a board meetings.
Now when it comes to general fiction, or non-fiction, that’s another thing. When I come to certain titles that I believe to be subject to …let’s say… “parental supervision” I set them aside— no, never into the trash, just aside to be reconsidered or duly noted as a listing on ebay. I hasten to add that I never list any material that I consider porn, and on occasion a girly-magazine hidden in a Woman’s Day collection will hit the trash, censorship bedamned.
One thought on “censorship or common sense?”
As a former children’s librarian I have always been appalled by the amount of censorship of books in US schools. Most of the books that appeared on banned lists there were ones that I was very happy to have on the shelves of the public libraries I worked in and later managed. But I do agree that some guiding on age-appropriateness is needed.
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