October 3 Washington Post Article

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October 3 Washington Post Article

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1beatles1964
Editado: Out 8, 2008, 7:56am

I saw this article called Banned Books, Chapter 2 Conservative Group Urges Libraries to Accept Collection in last Friday's Washington Post Metro Section. It said, that During a week that Librarians nationswide ar highlighting banned books, conservative Christian students and parents' showcased their own collection outside a Fairfax County high school yesterday-a collection they say was banned by the Librarians themselves. More than 40 students, many wearing black T-shirts stamped with the words "Closing Books Shuts Out Ideas. It goes on to say they tried to donate more than 100 books about homosexuality to a dozen high school libraries in the past year. The titles in question include Marriage on Trial The Case Against Same Sex Marriage and Parenting and Someone I Love Is Gay. Most of the books had been turned down by the school libraries because they did not meet school system standards. I just thought I would mention this article because it fits in with the Banned Books theme here for this group.

School Libraries of course have every right to pick and chose the books they spend their Budget on and not buy what they feel is objectionable to them. However if enough people put in requests demanding to see these books the School Libraries should feel obliged to buy copies because it's what people are saying the want to read. We don't want Libraries to start playing the Censorship Card by saying we know what is best for you and will spend our money accordingly on the books we buy any way we see fit by denying to provide a need for those people who may have a family member or relative that is Gay. The should be able to have access to those books since they will need to know how to deal with it.

Since Libraries are here to provide information to everyone and to educate as well as getting people to read and use their many different services they offer to their Patrons. Libraries are also a place where friends and families go to spend some quality time together.

beatles1964

2drbubbles
Out 8, 2008, 8:36am

Since you haven't posted a link to the article, I can only go by what you have written. Based on that, I would point out that 'refusing to buy what patrons are requesting' is not 'refusing to accept donated books that non-patrons think the library should have.' The library appears to have done the latter, *not* the former. Unless students are requesting the books the group wants to donate, the library isn't failing to serve them by refusing to accept the donation. And donated books are not completely free; they have to be accessioned and catalogued, books may have to be reshelved if a lot of the donated ones would be in the same location, and not being a librarian I don't know what else might be involved.

So you might want to reconsider the notion that the library is "playing the Censorship Card" in this situation.

3Jim53
Out 8, 2008, 8:52am

There seems to be some confusion about the role of a school library. It's not the same thing as a public library.

5beatles1964
Out 8, 2008, 9:11am

But even a School Library needs to have the information their Students may ask for to inform them on subjects or topics that may concern them because they know someone personally and they will need to know how to deal with it. Especially since kids today have a lot more choices to get their information from than previous generations. If they can't get it from their School or Public Libraries they can go to the Intenet and get the same exact information or even go to the Mall and get it from a Barnes and Noble or order from Amazon.com So one way or another they will eventually find out what they are looking for regardless if they get it from their School or Public Libraries.

beatles1964

6quilted_kat
Editado: Out 8, 2008, 12:20pm

A library refusing to take donated items usually has more to do with the availabilty of the bib record, collection demand, and the cost of adding a book to a system. A "free" donated book is not free if a library system has to purchase the records to add it to their system.

It also appears that many of the donated books were published by independant publishers and small church printings. Bib records are not always available in such cases.

I agree with post #2 that this is not really a censorship issue. Focus on the family has made past attempts to have items removed from libraries due to content that they did not agree with; That would be a clear case of censhorship.

7PhoenixTerran
Out 8, 2008, 12:20pm

Quoting from the article:
"But library officials said donated and purchased books alike are evaluated by the same standards, including two positive reviews from professionally recognized journals."

Collection policies are vital, and it's good that this library appears to have one. School libraries tend to have very small budgets and can't afford to buy everything.

Now, if the group wanted to donate books with a similar perspective that met the above criteria and the library refused, then we might begin talking about censorship.

8oregonobsessionz
Editado: Out 9, 2008, 12:19am

Actually, it does appear that these groups are attempting to donate the books, but the librarians have a book selection standard (…library officials said donated and purchased books alike are evaluated by the same standards, including two positive reviews from professionally recognized journals. ), and the books proposed for donation do not meet the standards.

But the article contains some telling statements (emphasis is mine):

The initiative, organized by Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, was intended to add a conservative Christian perspective

Thornily said she has offered to help find books that meet the county standards and offer a religious view on homosexuality along with other views. She has asked librarians to consider adding such books to their collections.

But the First Amendment says this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

And the group attempting to donate the books openly admits that they want to promote a “conservative Christian perspective” in the schools. That is unconstitutional; the school district, as the representative of government, can not establish or promote any specific religion.

Beatles, I always find it helpful to turn complicated issues inside out. Suppose a local group of Muslims (or Hindus, Scientologists, Santeria/voodoo practitioners, or any other group whose beliefs you do not share) offered to donate a collection of books to the school library, in order to “offer a {insert religion here} view”. Would you find this acceptable? If not, then the Christian books are not acceptable either.

9jlane
Out 9, 2008, 1:34am

No, not banning, not censorship.

A request for consideration is submitted before a decision is made about selection. It is not a complaint that follows. These students are confusing two separate actions.

Special interest groups often make donations of their publications to libraries. Those are subject to the same selection policies as any acquisition.

10PhoenixTerran
Out 9, 2008, 7:17am

Good post, oregonobsessionz. Religion in public schools is a rather tricky thing.

11drbubbles
Out 9, 2008, 10:14am

> 5

So, then, why would it matter whether the school accepts the donation or not?

The path of least resistance would be for the school to accept the donation and immediately set the books aside to be disposed of with the next batch of withdrawn books (resale, donation elsewhere, &c.). It's win-win: the theocrats get denied the publicity of a refused donation, and the library doesn't have to add them to the collection.

12droupou
Out 13, 2008, 5:45pm

>8 oregonobsessionz:: And the group attempting to donate the books openly admits that they want to promote a “conservative Christian perspective” in the schools. That is unconstitutional; the school district, as the representative of government, can not establish or promote any specific religion.

Wouldn't disallowing a book based on a Christian viewpoint be against the first amendment... I mean from my (Christian) point of view, my freedom to exercise my religion and read about topics from books written from a Christian view point is being infringed upon. Based on my understanding of your statement it would be OK for a school to refuse a book because it has Christian tones, which goes against the freedom of the press.

I'll try to turn this inside out for you. If I was to say that any book that says anything I don't agree with from a religious aspect was banned from the school your child attends would that be right?

Why can't we put the books in the school, and allow parents to be parents rather than the school boards?

13inkdrinker
Editado: Out 14, 2008, 8:39am

When it comes to something like homosexuality, a public school would want to use their space and resources to present a scientific perspective not a religious one. School are not a place for religious proselytizing. Rather they are a place to learn solid information (i.e. science). Seeing as the perspective of science and religion are completely at odds, the school would have an obligation to keep out disinformation. That's not censorship. It's keeping a religious perspective from trying to degrade scientific information. This is no different than if the same group wanted to donate books on creationism... I wouldn't take them in my library.

Also, since scientifically speaking homosexuality is a normal behavior due to brain make-up, any book pointing to it as an illness or an aboration could be construed as hate speech or at the least a form of discrimination. I wouldn't touch those books with a ten foot pole.

14droupou
Out 14, 2008, 10:19am

I take issue with your assertion that science is the only correct view of the world. We are all human, and have all made mistakes. Science included. A school _should_ want to provide as many perspectives as possible in order to educate their students on what perspectives are out there. Education should be about expanding knowledge, rather than indoctrinating a child. This relates directly back to banning books (the topic). A school should not refuse to carry a book if parents want it in the school bad enough to donate it.

15Medellia
Out 14, 2008, 10:26am

I mean from my (Christian) point of view, my freedom to exercise my religion and read about topics from books written from a Christian view point is being infringed upon. Based on my understanding of your statement it would be OK for a school to refuse a book because it has Christian tones, which goes against the freedom of the press.
Your freedom to read those books is not being infringed upon them. It just means that if you're a schoolkid, those books won't be available to you in the school library. As for freedom of the press, this is not remotely infringing upon that either. If the government told a publisher, you may not publish that book, that would be an example of infringement.

I'll try to turn this inside out for you. If I was to say that any book that says anything I don't agree with from a religious aspect was banned from the school your child attends would that be right?
No, because schools are not there to promote your religious views. See #8 again.

Public schools are secular. They do not promote religion, yours or anyone else's. Your child's religious education is your responsibility, and you can do it at home.

16droupou
Out 15, 2008, 10:07am

>15 Medellia: Public schools are secular. They do not promote religion, yours or anyone else's.

However they school can promote against my religion. I have examples of this however it is not directly relevant to this forum. In regards to a book being banned from this school, I feel the school should provide a wide variety of books, and not refuse to carry any kind of book. Leave it to the parents... not the schools.

What I feel you are glossing over is that a book is being refused or banned from that library. Why? Because it is christian? That is not the responsibility of the school, or its librarian. As a place of learning they should provide their students with a wide variety of information, not a limited scope meant to indoctrinate them. They don't have to promote the book, only carry it, and make it available to the students should they want to read it.

17PhoenixTerran
Out 15, 2008, 10:38am

Completely ignoring the religious aspect of this argument: The books were refused due to the fact that they did not meet the collection development policies of the library.

I'll quote the article again: "But library officials said donated and purchased books alike are evaluated by the same standards, including two positive reviews from professionally recognized journals."

The books didn't meet that requirement.

18inkdrinker
Editado: Out 16, 2008, 9:25am

#14

Science is not ALWAYS right, but when it comes to understanding things of a scientific nature (like the function of the brain, evolution, wind erosion) it is the only game in town. There is no other source of factual information that is even within light years of science in terms of how often it is correct. Schools exist to teach subjects such as science, math, literature, and so on. To allow a group of parents to pretend that science isn't correct a thousand times more often that religious views when it comes to factual information (such as the functions of the brain) and by this action muddy the waters of what a school is meant to teach is ludicrous.

Besides, as I stated above, anti-gay books would qualify as discrimination... possibly hate speech. I wouldn't take these books any more than I would take pro-Nazi books or books which said that Christians are an abomination and should be put out of their misery.

19jlane
Out 15, 2008, 5:41pm

I've often wished that energy that's directed into efforts like this could be refocused into the formation and building of special community libraries featuring faith based publications. Granted, that would require cooperation among those with differing doctrinal viewpoints, but the materials could be available to all and the churches could share in the support and promotion of a Christian perspective. A few communities have done it.

20superpablo
Out 15, 2008, 6:00pm

Esta mensagem foi marcada como abusiva por vários utilizadores e por isso não é mostrada (mostre)
FUCK!

21DaynaRT
Editado: Out 15, 2008, 10:34pm

ahh, a child playing with the keyboard...nevermind

22drbubbles
Out 16, 2008, 8:25am

>21 DaynaRT: "...child..."

Oh, is that a new way to spell 'jerk'? I knew you could write 'fish,' g-h-o-t-i.