Sunday, December 11, 2005

Burning books will probably be next

Here's an update about the book banning I mentioned. Some of the fundamentalist mothers from my sixth grader's middle school have now decided to take a more criminal turn when it comes to ridding the library of books they don't like.

To those who haven't heard, there's a series of books for girls (I don't have girls so I don't remember what they are...I'll find out) that are approved by the school district. About eight mothers have decided that they want those books removed. Principal and librarian both won't budge, since these books are approved. They tried running it past the PTA board, but no one budged. The principal tried to tell these moms that the procedure for formally requesting books to be taken off the shelves requires paperwork and offered that paperwork to these women. So far, none of them will fill out the papers.

What they decided to do was to allow their daughters, one at a time, to check out the books they don't like and then simply....not return them. Technically, a "lost" book requires payment before a person's library privileges can be reinstated. The same would be true for an overdue book. Maybe they'll do that, but these women are using their daughter's library record as a way to execute their criminally-bent protests. They've told us in the past that if we want to-- the rest of us can buy the book or let the kids who want to read the book check it out of the public library.

Why can't they just tell their kids that they can't read the book and leave it at that? Why must it be prohibited for EVERYONE ELSE? This is the same brain trust that thinks Harry Potter promotes sorcery.

Here's the saddest thing: We're a Title One school. The kids in this school who come from upper-middle class homes are the minority here. Our library is not the biggest and getting a book re-ordered, approved, processed and shipped back to the school takes time, money and more employees than our school district is presently willing to pay to keep the public school libraries running the way they should. That book won't be back on our shelves until next September, if at all.

I guess stealing is only wrong if you're NOT a fascist.


Blogger Mignon said...

Here's my chance to actually do something good with my addiction to consumerism... can I just buy the book(s) and donate it? If yes, or if you're not sure, send me the school info and I can contact them myself, with pleasure.

9:10 PM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

Mignong- You are such a good egg! Here's the problem:

1)Our regualar librarian is out on maternity leave. Won't be back until January.

2)Buying books ( which parents have attempted) and donating them still takes a long time. Money given to the school library and then used to order books is somewhat faster, but our librarian is gone and our sub has no such authority.

3) The principal doesn't yet know about this mom's little attempt to sidetrack the system. In a moment of pride she unknowingly "blabbed" to someone who happened to pass the info on to the President of our PTA (and a student advisor at our local university). The president who serves with me on the board (I'm the library rep.) told me about it tonight. We're both going to the principal tomorrowl

3)When you check out a book, you leave a paper trail. Since this woman has publicly gone out on a limb to talk about the book's removal, the fact that her daughter has "lost it" won't be difficult to deal with.

I'll let you know, but I think this will work itself out after the prez and I grease the wheels of justice. Details as they occur.

10:43 PM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

Sorry, Mignon...I've had my eyes destroyed by trying to work with tile all night. See previous post.

10:44 PM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

Very interested to hear how this all plays out, and what the principal has to say...keep us posted.

6:11 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Oh holy crap. What is WRONG with people these days? SERIOUSLY.

I read "Catcher in the Rye" when I was about 8 and LOVED it (I'm sure I understood about 3/4 of it, but hey, good enough). I hear that it's now one of the "controversial" books that many schools wish to ban.

Fight the good fight, my friend.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Tink said...

Obviously the mothers who are doing this have absolutely nothing BETTER to do with their time. As the saying goes, "Choose your battles wisely." If this is all they can think to fight for, or should I say over, then they're a sad sad lot. Period.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Shrinking Violet said...

It must be tiring to try and control everyone and everything. But it comes in handy if you don't want to look at your own failings! Those ladies make my head hurt.

9:44 AM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

What decade does this woman live in? Here is what I notice about most people who condemn a book...they have never read it. That's what I would love to ask her - did you even read the damn book?

10:20 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

Crazy fundamentalists with too much time on their hands - there's never a shortage. This is what these nut jobs do for two hours in church every Sunday.
I grew up in a fundamentalist christian church and school (the main reason I'm agnostic today). The fundamentalists have an irrational fear of anything they can't control and book banning is just another in a long line of examples.
Stealing books in order to ban them? The hypocricy never ceases to amaze.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Ditsy Chick said...

Well, what a bunch of no brained bitches. Why don't they just homeschool if they are afraid of any and every point of view they don't agree with getting into their kids' heads? Those books are public property and they have no right to them.

I am sure they are as narrow minded as they sound.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Plain Jane said...

GRRRR. I really do want to pimp slap people like that. If they don't want their children reading the books, then that's their right... but to punish other children? And for crying out loud - they're BOOKS!!

It infuriates me when people try to control others by forbidding them to certain materials - such as books, art, film, etc.

Now I wanna poke someone in the eye.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Well-put, ladies! I am late to this posting, but I read this latest development with interest.

It's a shame that people feel it's necessary to make judgments "for the good of the group." It would be so much simpler to just restrict their own kids. Perhaps they are afraid that their rules would be ignored and the kids would read the books anyway?

Also, banning a book just makes it more attractive to kids (at least it did to me). The books that were age-restricted at my school library were always the ones I went out and bought so I could read them early!

5:53 PM  
Blogger John said...

You know what you should do? Have your side check out all the 'good' books, which I'm willing to bet are American Girls and Babysitter's Club. Get all of them. The only books that should be left in the library should be Clifford the Big Red Dog and old issues of National Geographic. Then you can have a stand off.

Or...can you pull having their accounts 'lost' like they were going to 'lose' the books? Hmm...

10:52 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Too many people feel that their truth is the one truth that people need to adhere to, and being the fanatics that they are they will fight any deviance from what they believe because they are right.

As a librarian, we generally feel that we have to give access to every point of view. We try not to discriminate.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I really do not like of protesting by commiting a criminal act. Plus, by eliminating the books from the local library, it is going to make people frustrated and angry, and probably be not interested in their cause.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Misfit Hausfrau said...

I am sure these people are the first in line to staunchly defend their Second Amendment Rights.


1:25 AM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

That just sucks. As a former TV reporter, I say you should call the best station in your town and pitch the story, because this is a good one. I think they will go for it if they're any good at all...

5:36 PM  
Blogger Orange said...

I bet if you found out the titles of all the stolen books and set up an Amazon wishlist, the kind internets would buy every single one of those books and there'd be a lovely gift waiting for the librarian when she returns from her leave. (Even if it takes her the rest of the year to attach the required library stickers and whatnot.) Unless, that is, the principal bitch-slaps the perps and gets the books back first.

6:47 AM  
Blogger theyellowwallpaper said...

Tolerance is really becoming a lost art in this country. If you don't like a particular book, just don't check it out. It's really that simple.

Yet, for some reason, everything has become increasingly polarized. It's either my way or the highway and compromise or tolerance of other viewpoints is seen as weakness. If you have judgmental opinions, you are deemed strong- just look at Bill O'Rielly. UGH! Let us know how it turns out.

Inquiring minds want to know...

11:42 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:04 AM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:13 AM  

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