Monday, October 22, 2012
Week 8 (Reference and Collection Development/ Censorship)
Whelan, Debra. “Out and Ignored.” School Library Journal Jan. 2006, Vo. 52.
One reoccurring issue I've noticed during my LIS education is that of librarians as gatekeepers, which directly relates to censorship. As LIS professionals, I've come to learn that we will encounter a myriad of issues: from collection development policies to Internet filtering and everything in between. The thought I keep coming back to in regards to this issue is that censorship is not the librarian's job. In my opinion, librarians are meant to engage with patrons; to find out what their information needs are and how to best solve them. Librarians are not meant to prevent patrons from finding information. The thought of librarians blocking patrons, to me, feels like a "playing god" scenario. The root of it is this: information is already out there. It is my job to help people find it, use it, and evaluate it critically. I do not hold a master key, and I cannot stop patrons from finding resources.
Whelan touches on the important issue of GLBT materials in school libraries, as they are a hot item to target for censorship. She includes a quote by Pat Scales, director of library services for the Governor's School for the Arts, "The mistake we often make about young adult literature is that it's only for the student who can identify with it. But straight kids need to read Annie on My mind and Deliver Us from Evie to learn about tolerance." Censorship can easily become highly emotional and irrational but we need to remember the ripple effect it may have. I see my job as providing open access to information and reaching out to the largest number of people possible.