I had an interesting experience today. An administrator approached me to say, “Ms Chen, a parent called to say we have sexually explicit materials in the library. Can you show them to me?”
My response – all our sex books remain checked out, but here’s another title in the series so you can understand how the focus is on maturing needs of teens and tweens.
Administrator question: “Is that title on an approved list of titles for our district?”
We don’t have an approved list. We have a collection development policy. These titles are well-reviewed, well-written, and age-appropriate. The publisher is well-known for their balanced, accurate portrayal of teen health and wellness issues.
Trip to the computer to print policy, reconsideration policy, and my email to the faculty earlier this week about the importance of maintaining a balanced and diverse collection. Administrator admits not reading the email because I send too many. When email is placed in hand, administrator reacts with surprise “This is really Banned Book Week?! You aren’t making it up? There’s good stuff in this email.”
Okay, let’s ignore all the signs and displays throughout the library about the right to read and to think for yourself. Yes, all these rights posters I have mean something to me and I will fight for the right to read.
Question: “Have any other parents or teachers been complaining?”
Answer: Yes, one teacher said a group of students were giggling when they read a page on dating. Will I remove the book? No! I told the teacher to essentially grow up and be professional. Teenagers giggle over silly things. I’d rather they giggle over advice on respecting their bodies, than cry over a teenage pregnancy of STD.
Perhaps this was just a dream and I’ll wake up to relive this day. ARGH!