Ranty McRanterson

I’ve got a beef with parents.

START DOING YOUR JOB AND STOP REQUIRING EVERYONE ELSE TO STEP UP WHERE YOU FAIL

There’s been some chatter lately about the increase of requests to ban books in libraries because they contain material some parents deem inappropriate for their children. If you deem it inappropriate, then by all means, do not let your child read it. But stop pushing your agenda on everyone else.

Sites like Parents Against Bad Books in Schools (PABBIS) and SafeLibraries are sprouting up to educate parents of the offensive content of books and ultimately encouraging people to keep them out of school and public libraries.

When did parents start deferring their duties to public entities? It’s a trend that disgusts me. And I’m seeing a lot more of it lately.

I have several teacher friends who spend more time in the classroom teaching skills that parents should have taught them than working on math, science and history. I have one friend whose job one day was to teach the smelly kid how to take a shower. TAKE A SHOWER! It should not be the job of the school to teach a kid hygiene.

And it shouldn’t be a library’s job to tell someone what he or she can or cannot read. That is a PARENT’S job. Growing up, my parents let me read just about anything. And while many times it wasn’t age appropriate, my mother took it as a teaching opportunity. I’m sure I had a ton of questions about topics I didn’t understand. But isn’t that the job of the parent to explain them to their child?

Those sites I mentioned are dangerous. While I’m all for parents doing some research on a particular book to see if it’s something they should let their kid read, I think it should come from an unbiased site. The PABBIS site in particular is troubling. Their main pages states:

Bad is not for us to determine. Bad is what you determine is bad. Bad is what you think is bad for your child. What each parent considers bad varies and depends on their unique situation, family and values. The main purpose of this webpage is to identify some books that might be considered bad and why someone might consider them bad. Another purpose of this webpage is to provide information related to bad books in schools.

I find it troubling they call these books “bad”.  Secondly, the hypocrisy of that statement kills me. While they say it’s a parent’s job to determine what’s “bad”, it’s also goes on to give reason after reason THEY think a book is bad. How about if a parent is really concerned about a particular title that he actually read the book himself and determine FOR HIMSELF whether the book is acceptable or not. Step up and follow through with your parental duties.

< / rant>

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a recently MLS librarian's observations
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One Response to Ranty McRanterson

  1. I’m not pro-censorship. And I oppose people or groups who are.

    “Sites like … SafeLibraries are sprouting up to educate parents of the offensive content of books….” No, that’s not what SafeLibraries does. Instead, educating parents of the false information from the ALA is the goal.

    For example, there are times when certain books in public schools simply do not meet selection policies and should be removed. The ALA opposes that and advises communities that any book removal is censorship. I advise communities that it is not censorship, and I use evidence you will never, ever hear from the ALA. I know from experience that the ALA does not advise communities of key evidence supporting the communities right to remove inappropriate material. You won’t believe what the ALA will not tell communities, and what communities would not know but for my advising them otherwise.

    Go sit down.

    Are you sitting down?

    Here is what the ALA does not advise local communities:

    Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week,” by Judith Krug, Curriculum Review, 46:1, Sep. 2006. “On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn’t fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.”

    Now if I’m pro-censorship, so is Judith Krug, the 40 year de facto leader of the ALA. The ALA does not advise communities of this. I do. Do you see how knowing this might make a difference in one’s mind? Informing communities is not “pushing an agenda.” Misinforming them or calling them “censors” intentionally is.

    I hope you’ll read my blog posts and perhaps subscribe.

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