Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BBW and Ethics

Banned Books Week has always been my favorite "librarian" celebration.  I admit, its partly because I like to push the envelope and make people uncomfortable.  But isnt being uncomfortable a good thing? Being comfortable is boring (intellectually comfortable that is).

Today I was at a meeting in which I was talking about the importance of Banned Books Week as a springboard to educate others about the value of open access and the ability to balance ourselves with multiple opinions.  It was disheartening to hear many people in the room respond in favor of censorship.

These people felt that I should be acting as a parent to my young patrons and keeping them away from topics that were "inappropriate."  Of course the book in question had the word "mommies" in the title.  It was so sad to hear others who work in libraries (although these particular respondents did not have an MLS) say that children's books with same sex parents were "not appropriate."

I whole-heartedly believe that it is my job to PROVIDE these materials.  In fact, its more than my job, its that thing that keeps me awake at night.  I cant stand the thought of censorship, but to hear it applied to libraries makes my stomach turn and my heart ache.

In trying to find a good educational response to this conversation, I found myself re-reading the ALA Code of Ethics, the Library Bill of Rights, and the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

If you haven't taken time to read these documents, please do.  They offer many words of wisdom and they depict a clear vision of why I have dedicated my life to librarianship.