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Copyright (c) 2009 Ginny Maziarka. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

American Family News covers West Bend Library

LISTEN to the interview by clicking on "Hear Report" at the upper right-hand side of the page.


"....many community members are outraged over the situation. "We all have always thought the library is this wonderful safe place and, unfortunately, the American Library Association has instilled in the librarians today that the policy of all materials for all ages is the right thing to do, and we don't agree with that," she adds."

The American Library Association and the West Bend Community Memorial Library have opened the doors to sexualizing YOUR children and grandchildren.


Is YOUR library a SAFE PLACE?


?

38 comments:

kellie said...

Yes. My library is a safe place; it upholds intellectual freedom.

Local MLIS Student said...

I think you would be hard pressed to truly find a librarian who believes in "all materials for all ages". Your heated rhetoric is misleading, and insulting, quite honestly.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Really, MLIS? So you are saying that the ALA, your librarians, my librarians, won't allow children to check out certain materials? What materials would those be? Can you tell me?

ALA Policy 53.1.3 states " School library media specialists resist efforts by individuals or groups to define what is appropriate for all students or teachers to read, view, hear, or access via electronic means."

53.1.4 "Denying minors equal and equitable access to all library resources available to other users violates the Library Bill of Rights."

These are disturbing policies, particularly to parents.

And they do, indeed, declare "all materials for all ages." Yes, indeed, they do.

Local MLIS student said...

I'm afraid you're making some errors in your analysis and argument:

First, ALA Policy 53.1.3 refers to "school library media specialists", which is different than a public librarian. This policy suggests that school librarian/teachers should resist efforts by others to define what is appropriate. This DOES NOT mean that a trained school library media specialist believes ALL material should be viewed by EVERYONE. They take great care in making informed discretionary choices in the materials they provide in educational settings.

Similarly, policy 53.1.4 refers to "resources available" within the library. Again, this doesn't mean that librarians think that ALL material should be placed within the walls of the library. Clearly, discretion is used, based on professional training and accepted standards, to determine what items are placed on the shelves.

You are making false claims - dangerous claims - to suggest that librarians think ALL materials should be included in a library. Clearly, that is not the case.

Honestly, you should really stop and consider the fact that so many other area libraries shelve the books you question in Young Adult sections. You should stop and consider the fact that the books you question are written, promoted, and shelved for young adult audiences, not children. You shoudl stop and consider that numerous professional and academic publications and experts view these materials as appropriate for young adults.

You should stop and consider that nearly everyone can find books in a library they don't agree with. That's the nature of a free society with freedom of expression. This isn't some kind of liberal agenda, nor some kind of conspiracy by the ALA to run local libraries. It merely is nature of the kind of society we enjoy.

If I were you, I'd focus my energies on teaching kids how to judge sources of information, how to make informed decisions about all the media content they encounter, how to reconcile the information they confront with their personal beliefs (and belief systems), and how to get along with people whose belief systems might differ from their own.

This is how we protect children; not by putting certain information out of reach.

Nanette said...

Well said, MLIS student! Educating young people about how to become critical thinkers is exactly the correct (not to mention most useful) approach to take.

Just imagine how much further we'd all be had this Safe Libraries group put all their energy and passion and (I like to think) genuine concern for children and led the West Bend community in projects such as:
- creating a task force of local educators, youth counselors, parents, and others to plan programs, lead teen discussions, and initiate activities that teach decision making, discernment, and media selection. Wow! What conversations we could have all had! There is so much we could all learn from each other.
- inviting some of the more controversial authors and publishers to the city to discuss their work. Folks could ask them directly why they included such graphic language. They could also share their concerns about explicit content, and why they consider it harmful to kids. Most authors have probably already heard most of the concerns, but my hunch is that most would be willing to listen to genuine feedback. Most of them welcome opportunities to meet with the public. Sure, the conversations may be uncomfortable at times, but they'd be conversations! They could be so enriching for all of us.

These are just two ideas ... If you asked teens, they'd come up with a whole lot more. My point is that there were some great opportunities to create something productive for the West Bend community, for the library, and for local families, to make lemonade out of lemons, so to speak. Now all that is lost. There have been too many attacks, and now too much will and bitterness between the two camps. What a loss.
But the main thing, MLIS student, is that your comments are spot on, especially your last two paragraphs. Thanks.

SafeLibraries said...

Ginny, you sound good in the broadcast, both in content and character! Did he pronounce your last name correctly?

Loki Motive said...

I think Local MLIS Student and Nanette bring up some interesting and compelling points. It will be interesting to see how advocates for the opposing viewpoint address them.

Paige said...

Very nicely put, Local MLIS Student and Nanette.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to them for standing up for what is right!

Three cheers!!!

Paige said...

"Kudos to them for standing up for what is right!

Three cheers!!!"

I agree, Anonymous, three cheers for the comments of kellie, Local MLIS student, and Nanette.

Loki Motive said...

Three cheers to Christina for her very interesting thank you Online Marketing of your brand!

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Kellie,

Intellectual freedom for adults is 100% OK by me.

Intellectual freedom for minors is DANGEROUS.

Paige said...

"Intellectual freedom for minors is DANGEROUS."

With respect, Ginny, that may be one of the most ignorant things you've written on this blog to date.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Paige,

With the same respect, your refusal to understand the implications of allowing minor children access to sexually-explicit materials is, perhaps, the most ignorant thing I have seen on my blog.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Then again, Paige, since you state "Librarians give it away for free," I would have to consider that you truly believe that.

Give it away, indeed.

SafeLibraries said...

Not exactly ignorant. More like it misses the point.

Ginny, intellectual freedom for children is the best thing in the world. Children are young and their minds are open to new ways and new ways of thinking. They should have the intellectual freedom needed to expand their horizons and improve themselves, or better, the world around them.

But with inappropriate material that is legal to keep from children, such as the material excluded under US v. ALA or under the Board of Education v. Pico US Supreme Court decisions, intellectual freedom is not the issue. There is nothing "intellectual" about, for example, sexually inappropriate material for children. Indeed it is possible exposure to such material has the opposite effect.

Paige said...

You caught me! I'm a dirty librarian bookslut porn peddler!

Loki Motive said...

You know, no one ever really explained to me what US vs. ALA has to do with Young Adult literature.

WEST BEND CITIZENS FOR SAFE LIBRARIES said...

Intellecual freedom in the warped sense of giving children access to materials that teach, and even promote, bl*w j*bs, hand j*bs, three-way s*x, the joy of "swallowing" and s*x toys usage in a crude/raunchy manner, nonetheless, is not intellectual, and it is not freedom. It is dangerous, like I said.

Loki Motive said...

Intellectual freedom is access to material that presents the aforementioned acts, promotes them, questions them and condemns them.

Intellectual freedom is about the pursuit of information in contradictory directions towards the ideal of truth.

It promotes nothing but curiosity.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Dan,

Yes. Pronounced correctly.

Anonymous said...

Loki Motive said...
"You know, no one ever really explained to me what US vs. ALA has to do with Young Adult literature."

It has NOTHING to do with literature.

Marjorie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Loki Motive said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A. Duncan Carson said...

"Intellectual freedom for minors is DANGEROUS."

Really? Dangerous how, like a poisonous snake?

Maybe I'm being dense, but can you spell out for us "the implications of allowing minor children access to sexually-explicit materials"? What's the worst-case, doomsday scenario here?

Are everyone's kids going to start getting together to try these "bl*w j*bs, hand j*bs, three-way s*x, the joy of "swallowing" and s*x toys" they've been reading about? (Good thing you censored random vowels, by the way. Wouldn't want any minors reading them with the right letters in place and getting any ideas)

Better they grow up in sex-free bubbles and grow up asking no questions (or are you just a fan of the missionary position in YA literature?). Healthy curiosity about a subject that might be objectionable (to some) is clearly much worse than complete ignorance of it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Concerned West Bend Citizen said...

Love how Ginny writes "s*x" here, as if it is some kind of dirty taboo, but was happy to spell it out when she disparaged Maria Hanrahan's organization as "West Bend Parents for Free Sex" (http://wissup.blogspot.com/2009/07/west-bend-is-fall-guy.html).

Ginny, hypocritical? Yeah, I'm surprised too....

Loki Motive said...

What are you talking about? She's worried about children being exposed to three way sax and sax toys.

Marjorie said...

Well, Ginny removed my last comment, so let's see if I can 'G' it up enough for her.

Is not teaching your children that sex is a healthy, normal, and enjoyable part of life something that is at it's hard pro-marriage and pro-family?

Good sex makes for better marriages. Making sex, a completely normal part of most healthy people's lives, a 'dirty' topic is bad for marriage as a whole.

After all, no sex, no families, right? Or is everyone just supposed to grit their teeth and close their eyes and put up with the awfulness so we can make babies?

WestBend451 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Surely, CWBC/WestBend451, you could learn from past posts. Stick to the topic. Personal attacks make you look silly and get you booted.

Thanks for your kind attention to this matter. Have a nice day!

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Let's see, Marj...

Sex, taught in a healthy, factual and appropriate manner as opposed to letting kids have it between the eyes with erotically explicit, crude, raunchy sex. Are you saying that these types of books should be considered for health class in the public schools? Surely not! Parents would be outraged! Be reasonable, for goodness' sake.

Local_MLIS_Student said...

Ms. Maziarka:

I'm curious as to why you haven't responded to my comment from 3 days ago regarding the need for better information literacy, rather than creating barriers to access.

I also noticed that you now seem to be mainly against texts that promote "erotically explicit, crude, raunchy sex". Is this the primary criteria for removing books from the Young Adult section?

Finally, I'm a little miffed that I had to go get a Google Account in order to comment here....

Marjorie said...

What is erotically explicit, crude, and raunchy?

This: http://www.myppmc.com/Books%20-%20Pornographic%20Sch.%20Lib.%20Pciures%202.html

Really?

I disagree. That seems pretty factual to me. Leaving out any of that information, especially to a 13 or 14 year old, would be leaving out too much.

What do you think a 14 year old should know? Straight biology and nothing else?

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

MLIS:

First, I apologize that you don't care for having to get a Google account. It is because of the numerous Anonymous posts, the confusion caused because of them, the way people hide behind the lack of identity, and the complaints of others that I have decided to ask people to sign in with an account. It's unfortunate, but I have tried everything from moderating comments to a free for all. Neither seems to work well. This is just another sampling on my end. We'll see how it goes.

Next, ALA policy 53.1.4 definitely does lend credence to "all materials for all people." The claims I am making are not dangerous at all; they are true. Librarians censor. Wait, let me rephrase that... Librarians exercise sponsorship. There, that's a little gentler. When librarians make a choice on the taxpayer's/parent's/patron's behalf, they are, in effect, choosing to sponsor the material they put on the shelves for the community they serve.

I have said it before, and I will say it again:

This IS an effort of the ALA to take control of the local libraries. Why else would Deb Caldwell-Stone come running to West Bend to put out the fire, i.e., the voice of the local people?

Yes, indeed. Sponsorship. Choice. All things for all people, regardless of age.

Loki Motive said...

"Next, ALA policy 53.1.4 definitely does lend credence to "all materials for all people." The claims I am making are not dangerous at all; they are true. Librarians censor. Wait, let me rephrase that... Librarians exercise sponsorship. There, that's a little gentler. When librarians make a choice on the taxpayer's/parent's/patron's behalf, they are, in effect, choosing to sponsor the material they put on the shelves for the community they serve."

See, here's the thing, just because a librarian sponsors material, it doesn't mean that they sponsor the content of the material. That's an important distinction to make. Think of all the books in the library that contradict the material in the library that you object to.

Well, "contradict" is sort of a bizarre word in this case considering most of the material is fiction. That's another issue I have with the way that this debate has been framed and its something that I don't think has been adequately addressed by the other side. Fiction is a genre that requires interpretation. Implying that presenting explicit material in fiction promotes is a tremendously spurious argument for me. As I've said.

Commenting on this blog seems like shouting into the void oftentimes... a stance both sides can probably sympathize with.

Local_MLIS_Student said...

Loki is right. Just because a librarian includes material in the library does not mean that the content is endorsed. Merely that it has informative/social/cultural value. (Perhaps not to everyone, but that's the nature of a diverse society.) To think that inclusion = endorsement/sponsorship reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of how libraries work and librarians are trained.

Ms. Maziarka, I'm frustrated that you often refuse to answer direct questions seeking to help clarify your thinking.

A few weeks ago you ignored my multiple queries about why you somehow connected UW-Milwaukee's School of Information Studies with the presence of the BookSlut link on the WB library website. I'm still curious as to your answer.

And above, I asked whether the promotion of "erotically explicit, crude, raunchy sex" is primary criteria for removing books from the Young Adult section.

Can you shed light on this?