Who Decides What America Reads?
- Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Libraries have policies particular to each location, so research local policies and the motivations behind them. Libraries carefully guard rights concerning their collections.
Follow the Chain of Command
When librarians resist attempts by the taxpaying public to include specific books, what recourse do we have? Davis tells us that if we have addressed librarians in an appropriate manner, we should move up the chain of command with letters to our elected officials. We should explain our concerns respectfully and delineate the steps we have taken.
Often, a polite letter from an organization such as the American Center for Law and Justice will help errant libraries see the expedience of honoring reasonable requests.
Spread the Word
As mentioned above, an important criterion to determine if a book remains in the library is whether the book circulates. Many homeschooling families have given up on the library because they are frustrated with the lack of balance in the stacks. Inform Christian families about efforts to improve the collection. Spread the word by writing articles for newsletters of interested groups. Arrange to speak at homeschool or other meetings to explain how important it is that these books circulate.
Who chooses what the American public reads? This important task must not be left in the hands of those who consider themselves the enlightened elite, preaching the gospels of Marx and Darwin.
Now that your learning is abused:
Now that the fighting’s at your door:
Now are you peaceful in your house?
Now are you neutral in this war? . . .
I say the guns are in your house:
I say there is no room for flight.
- Archibald MacLeish, “Speech to Scholars” as quoted in Forbidden Books in American Public Libraries, 1876-1939 (Greenwood Press, 1984)
Carmen and her husband, Bill move their family around the United States and its possessions for various software projects. She and her six homeschooled children have frequented libraries in more than fourteen different communities. Her experiences with these libraries have provided the background for this article. They currently call 120 Texas acres their home "this side of Heaven". If you have questions or comments, please visit Carmen's blog at www.mywordwrites.blogspot.com.
1George F. Bowerman, 1931, Censorship and the Public Library, with Other Papers, Ayer Publishing, 40
This article was originally published in the Sep/Oct ’08 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more great homeschool help, download our FREE report—The Secret to Homeschooling Freedom! Click here to download: http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com/resources/report.htm
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