Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wisconsin Library Censorship Issue on CNN

It's big time for censorship issues at the West Bend Public Library. When CNN reports on it, it has to be big.

Libraries are responsive and responsible to their publics, and it is not unusual for people to push strongly for the kind of materials to which they think their children should not be exposed. These people often believe that their opinions are shared by everyone. As this situation shows, it isn't so. Solutions that appear reasonable to some seem like censorship to others.

As a former library director, I saw parents with varying points of view on what is acceptable for children of any age. Libraries usually do their best to present balanced views. With fiction for teens, often demand drives collection development, as it does with television viewing or Internet usage. There's a lot more sexual content and pornography available to everyone on the Internet than one will find in the library.

My sympathy goes to Michael Tyree, Director of the library at West Bend, and the library board there. It's not fun when the library is attacked.

1 comment:

  1. Yikes! It's not up to libraries to censor what people -- of any age -- may read; parents are responsible for knowing what their children are reading, or watching. These parents are abdicating their responsibility, and pushing it onto the library, which in effect would limit other parents' right to permit their children to read the controversial books. It's interesting -- the book-banning parents (and elderly men) are both control freaks and also abdicating their own responsibilities. We see too much of this in the schools, too, as teachers are expected to overcome students' problems created by poor parenting.