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

Friday, July 24, 2009

West Bend Library Board rewrites policy - EXCLUDES parents, gives broad access to MINORS

Here ya go.

This month, the WBCML Library Board quietly REWROTE their "Materials Selection Policy" to include:

"Library materials will not be marked or identified to show approval or disapproval of their contents, and no library materials will be sequestered.

Responsibility for reading and the use of the library by children rests with their parents and legal guardians. At no time will library staff act in loco parentis.

Selection of library materials will not be inhibited by the possibility that they may come into the possession of children.

While a person may reject materials for himself or herself, or for his or her children, he or she cannot exercise censorship to restrict access to the material by others."


Elizabeth said...

"Responsibility for reading and the use of the library by children rests with their parents and legal guardians. At no time will library staff act in loco parentis."
How does this exclude parents? It specifically states the parents are responsible.

Loki Motive said...

It excludes the parents from telling the library what to do. Librarians don't know what they're doing and need to be advised by people who are both completely ignorant of the 20th century mission of librarians and the fundamentals of open inquiry. Haven't you been paying attention to the underlying message of this blog?

Paigealicious! said...


Marjorie said...

Actually, your problem seems to be that it leaves TOO MUCH responsibility with parents.

You don't want to be bothered monitoring your own child's reading, you want other people to do it for you.

Do you own job and let the librarians do theirs. There job is NOT to parent your children.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to state that I'm incredibly proud of West Bend Library for their support of open inquiry. As others have stated in the comments, let parents be parents and, you know, monitor their kids, rather than everyone else's.

Thank the gods that there are still reasonable people in the world.

pastgrace said...

Thank God the board is standing up to attempted censorship.

I am a parent of 4 girls. I always, and I do mean always read the books my daughters are reading. I counsel them as to what I think is appropriate and what I don't think is appropriate. I also pre-watch movies before my daughters watch them or I watch with them so I can discuss/guide/and direct them. This is what parents need to do. Be active in your child's life. Don't be on the peripheral.

Concerned West Bend Citizen said...

What do you mean they did it "quietly"? It was openly discussed and approved at the monthly, public, library board meeting on July 7 (the first Tuesday of the month).

Stop trying to create false controversies, and attend the board meetings if you really want to help guide library policies and practices.

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

CWBC, Bob, er Warren, er....well, some day you won't be afraid to say who you are...

Anyhoooo...your comment was particularly amusing. Really, I mean that.

We both know that:

1. It was an underhanded, "in your face" to the West Bend community, backed by the ALA, of course!
2. Attend the board meeting so we can "help?" Surely you jest! ROFL!

West Bend Citizen Advocate said...

Warren, Waring....w/e.

Mike said...

Was the meeting kept secret? Was a decision made in closed session? If the answer to these questions is "no" then the problem lies with your lack of participation in the meeting. If you chose not to attend the meeting that is no one's fault but your own. to call it underhanded is just one more time that you blame someone else for your failure to do what you should have been doing.

Of course, this meeting was not going to be on TV or covered by radio so I'm sure it held much less interest for you than all of your other opportunities to grandstand.

Anonymous said...

So its ok for a library to refuse to stop someone from reading anything they want regardless of the harm the material might create, but they can suggest as many books as they want to?

Loki Motive said...


Anonymous said...

How is this any different than a Liquor store changing their policy that they wont stop minors from buying alcohol.

Than putting a stand at the front of the store advertising their suggested wine cooler flavors for 12 year olds?


I love books, I've read hundreds of them, but the reason we have age regulations on ANYTHING is because sometimes there needs to be a bit of maturity before someone should have to handle certain things.

Books are no different

Anonymous said...

Than putting a stand at the front of the store advertising their suggested wine cooler flavors for 12 year olds?


I mean, you've got a point. Children and young adults in many European countries learn early on how to enjoy and handle alcohol in moderation and don't fall into the binge drinking common among college-age Americans.

Anonymous said...

Thats largely because the American Culture promotes binge-lifestyles.

I watched Horton Hears a Who with my daughter last night (oh that silly Jim Carrey!) and almost felt like I was punched in the gut when it got to the part about the mayor trying to protect the lives of the "Whos" only to have the Council step in and promote living a "fun" lifestyle instead of doing something less-than-fun but potentially saving their lives.

What do I know though, it was only a Dr. Suess movie...

Anonymous said...


Zenrage said...

But you see, its a bad thing for these wrong-wing "family values" parents since they need to be able to indoctrinate their kids with everything they hold to be sacred and beyond questioning.

They can't have public institutions giving them or other kids the potential to learn about dangerous things like REALITY and SCIENCE.

Anonymous said...

Bizarre! The library has a policy that affirms the rights of individual parents to decide what their children can and cannot check out from the library, and Maziarka claims it EXCLUDES parents. Back to Critical Thinking 101!

Anonymous said...

How dare they. I, for one, am OUTRAGED that they should imply that parents monitor their own children and the books they read!


(in case you're slow, this is sarcasm)A

Anonymous said...

Stop being so lazy and parent your own darn children. Librarians aren't childcare workers, nor do they want to be. If you care so little about your child's life that you don't check the books they borrow from the library then consider therapy; it may be very helpful to both you and your family :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'll monitor my children, but my dear Marj...it forgets those children who may not have a parent active in their lives. What would like to do with them or do children who aren't yours not matter to you?

We need to let the community decide what is obscene for our library. That is what used to be the policy for the WB Library.

Then we need to let the parents reconsent to a library card. Placing a sticker (bought w/ donated funds) on a library card means a child has permissiont to read these books in question.

It's an easy answer and yet the library and the board refuses to let us [the community and parents] decide what is right for our library which we pay for with our tax dollars.

FYI....remember librarians we pay your salary.

Laz said...

I've been following this story for some time and I have to ask-- what gives you the right to dictate what other people can or cannot read? Worry about your own family and watch what they bring home and that's it. Don't yank books off shelves, don't restrict books to other patrons that don't have your iron-fisted way of looking at things. I think you've gone too far and it needs to stop. Start acting like a parent and monitor your the books your children bring home and leave the library out of this.

Anonymous said...

Trisha, no one hear wants to remove books from the library. If in fact you've really been following both sides of the story you'd know:

>we want to keep the books in the library

>we want to let the community decide what is obscene. Since the library policy states it is policy to uphold community standards.

>we want to parents the power and have them reconsent. If they want their children to read this material a sticker would be placed on their card. If there is no sticker then the library will enforce what the parents want.

All of this gives the power back to the community and more importantly the parents.

Call Me Mom said...

I think you are all missing the forest for the trees.

The library's statement that they will not act "in loco parentis" is a legal action.

I'm not sure they can refuse their responsibility for acting "in loco parentis" when they allow unattended minors to onto the property. I think, legally, there is an implied duty of "in loco parentis" when libraries advertise book clubs and etc for children and young adults. It will be interesting to see if that's challenged in court and if so, who wins.

Marjorie said...

'forgets those children who may not have a parent active in their lives.'

If they do not have a parent 'active in their lives', I am much more worried with where they are sleeping and where they are eating than what they are reading. In fact, if they are choosing to be in a library instead of getting into trouble somewhere, I say that's a huge victory.

'What would like to do with them or do children who aren't yours not matter to you?'

They do, but like I said, I think making sure that their basic needs are met are about 1000x more important than making sure they don't check out sex education books. Also, if they really have no parent in their lives, it's probably important that they have access to books that can give them information about sexuality, so they aren't just learning bad information from other kids.

'We need to let the community decide what is obscene for our library.'

Really? Do you want the entire community to vote on each of the thousands of books in the library?? How does that work? There is nothing 'easy' about that solution.

Or, is what you really want is for a handful of busybodies be able to make these determinations for entire community?

It seems from following this that the majority of your community doesn't agree with you.

'FYI....remember librarians we pay your salary.'

Actually, I am a corporate librarian, so I have the joy of being able to do my job unmolested by know-nothings.

Anonymous said...

Marj- Today we feed the children free breakfast and lunch at school. We have shelters and hot lines for children, we have programs that give them warm jackets and alike. So why not take one step to protect the minds of our young people who have a lack of parental involvment and move the books a few feet and require parents to reconsent?

Reading these books should be done with adult supervision.

The community would decide on the definition of obscene. That seems to be in question right now. So let's give the power back to the people.

Currently a number of "busybodies" are all ready making the decisions. Let's just make sure we are all on the same page, which we are not.

Marjorie said...

You don't seem to want to answer the question about how the community goes about selecting books for the library. Do you vote on every book? Does one complaint trigger a flag? Could an atheist say he was offended by religious texts?

Or do all books with sexual content get flagged, or just YA ones? Are you really going to be sticking little 'explicit content' stickers on every novel with a sex scene? How many full time employees are you going to hire so you can go through the entire library collection and figure out which books need stickers?

You act as if your solution is 'simple', when it's actually impossibly complicated.

Call Me Mom said...

If the library CAN just make a public statement denying any responsibility to act "in loco parentis" in defiance of common sense and the implied duty when they are actively using means to attract children to the library, what will that mean for other public institutions where children may be unattended? Will that policy apply only to public institutions, or can private businesses do the same? What about museums, restaurants, sporting events and etc. ad nausea?

When restaurants sell food there is an implied responsibility that the food will be safe to eat. Can a restaurant just declare that they will not be responsible for determining the safety of their food? People should, after all, have enough experience with food to make their own decisions regarding it's safety.
It's an interesting idea.

But, this is all idle speculation, back to work, such as it is.