Christian Students Protest Book Ban

Christian students and their parents protested at a Fairfax County, Virginia high school Thursday.
"There's hope, there's redemption, and you could live a heterosexual lifestyle," King said. "That you don't have to live that lifestyle."

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>Librarians have told the

>Librarians have told the students that the books they want to >donate aren't well-researched and some might make homosexual >students "feel inferior."

What if the current books make the christian students feel inferior?

They read from books that offend Christians

They read from books that offend Christians in the article.

They have a hypothetical gay person whom would be hypothetically offended, or made to feel inferior.

We know that the possible offense of a gay person is much more important that the actual offense of a Christian.

A Christian, geez next thing you know they will want to impose their values on everyone and not leave us alone with our moral relativisim.

The Christian message is a message of hate and intolerance, we should ban their books - and burn them too!

Well researched

Librarians have told the students that the books they want to donate aren't well-researched and some might make homosexual students "feel inferior."

The students should start going through the library and pulling all books that they think are poorly researched.

Librarians are the worst censors. ALA code of ethics my foot.

Well Researched or well reviewed?

As a Christian and librarian with a MLIS degree I feel that these students have every right to add books to the library collection we have such a liberal viewpoint that there needs to be another viewpoint to the topic at hand. These Christian students are not imposing their ideas they simply want another viewpoint that state otherwise to the topic at hand. There should always be another side to every topic. I have Harry Potter books at my school library and books that are against it and for it...the same with the Dan Brown Da Vinci Code book giving my students the option to choose to read either or both...but I digress...

The librarian that cowardly stated that the books the students wanted to add might make some homosexual students feel inferior was a total copout and it is evident that he or she did not read the books that the students wanted to add to the collection to begin with but simply glanced at the covers and judge accordingly.

Whose Right? Who sets the standard?

On the other hand, is the library obligated to acquire self-published books, or catalog materials that are clearly "inspirational" or religious in nature with nonfiction materials addressing homosexuality from psychological or sociological perspectives? Is the library obligated to acquire books that do not meet the same quality standards required for all other books in the library (in other words, can the opinions of a group of students trump established collection development policy? Do Christian materials get a pass simply because they're Christian?)

And when does a library user or student EVER have a RIGHT to add books to the library? Especially when the students haven't read the books, as the Channel 4 news and Washington Post accounts reported?

If you read the less biased Washington Post account, the librarian made it clear that 1) she had offered to work with the students to find books that met standards that sympathized with or expressed their views on homosexuality; 2) books belittling minorities of all persuasions had been rejected when judged to be too polemical.

It's one thing to say that the library should work with these students to identify works to add diversity to the collection - which the librarian has offered to do. It's another thing altogether to say that Focus on the Family, a partisan Christian group, should be able to recruit a group of students as a means of forcing a tax-supported, public school library to acquire Focus on the Family's hand-picked, religiously themed materials regardless of the standards set in the school board's collection development policy, or the goals and the mission of the school's curriculum.

Though the goal itself - increasing the diversity of the collection - may have merit, the means are nothing more than detestable (and cynical) political theater.

More objective and comprehensive account in Wash Post

Actually, the librarian told them that the books did not meet the standard required by the school board's collection development policy, which requires two positive reviews in professional journals for nonfiction acquistions. The Washington Post has a (cough) more balanced story than CBN.com (the Christian Broadcast Network, evangelist Pat Robertson's news feed.)

According to the Post reporter, the books were assembled by Focus on the Family (who had an adult representative at the protest) and the angry youth did not claim to have read the books they said were so important to them that they had to be on their school library shelves.

So query: When do we turn over our collection development decisions to Focus on the Family?

Read the story here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/02/AR2008100203644.html?referre...

Whew! Thanks for the breath

Whew! Thanks for the breath of fresh logic!

And before you call the librarian a hypocritical censor

Consider this nugget of info from the Washington Post:

"Thornily (the library coodinator) said she has offered to help find books that meet the county standards and offer a religious view on homosexuality along with other views. She has asked librarians to consider adding such books to their collections. "

So, it comes down to the fact that the Focus on the Family youth want it all on their terms, and dodge the need to meet the standards required by their school board.

Cute

Although the " two positive reviews from professionally recognized journals" requirement is standard collection development policy boilerplate, it results in second-rate collections. Which books are going to have two "professional journal" reviews (2PJR)? --the ones published in large quantities by major publishers. And what kinds of things get published in large quantities by major publishers?-- primarily titles they expect will bring them either money or prestige. Consequently, 2PJR books are going to miss most of the extremes of opinion. Do you really only want "the mainstream" in your library's collection? --only the "prestigious?" --the "successful?" --no room for the "out there?" --the borderline and the marginalized?

Just curious-- how many of you provide Internet access? Do you filter out anything not reviewed in two professional journals?

All I ask is this: drop the 2PJR logjam. I'd settle for any review and not necessarily in a "published journal."

amazon review?

So you'd take a review from a customer on Amazon.com? I don't think that would hold up to the scrutiny of the "taxpayers". You know, the people footing the bill for purchasing those library books. Yeah, I get tired of people throwing the "you're wasting my tax dollars" spiel, but we do answer to them and should have legitimate reasoning behind every purchase. Whether it be it was a bestseller, it has several good reviews in professional journals, it won several awards, it was requested by patrons, or what have you. If it is truly requested by the students and not a publicity stunt (hence the Focus on the Family rep. being at the protest), then the library should at least consider it.

The difference of the internet and books is the cost. It's a flat rate (monthly or yearly) for the internet and every website. There is no extra expense to get everything, so there is no need to filter to save money or space. The reason a library sets collection development policies for materials truly comes down to money. It costs money for every single book that you try to put in the library. In a perfect world where money didn't matter, I'd love to see these books on the shelf next to others of different perspectives. It doesn't matter if I agree with them or not.

At my library, which is a public library, we rarely add donations to the collection because the donations are often old, out of date, in bad condition, or something we already have. If we accept any donations, it is made clear to the donater that we have the right to do whatever we want with it. There are no stipulations to adding it to the collection. We can add it, donate it somewhere else, or sell it through our Friends organization. If they don't accept that, then we don't accept the donation.

BTW, my library does have books funded by Focus on the Family and some of the James Dobson books. As well as other books that accept homosexuality. A library that has books that are reviewed can still have many viewpoints expressed, so "mainstream" can work.

Fair enough...

No, I don't think a single positive customer review on Amazon constitutes sufficient evidence of "quality" for purchase. However, I do mean to include non-print resources--journals, magazines, and, yes, blogs. Judgement still works here--it's not any magazine, or any blog. Why do we give the trade review publishers (Choice, PW, etc.) such undeserved influence over our collections?

To me it comes down to this-- what's more important: keeping the library safe and clean from infecting "underreviewed" materials, or casting the broadest net possible and in the act possibly even creating a truly diverse collection?

Of course good stewardship of the taxpayers' dollars is important. I don't deny that. I would just argue that stewardship includes the responsibility to build diverse collections, and relying only on books reviewed in two "professional journals" is not conducive to identifying the extremes of opinion. It's been said that "a good library collection should have something to offend everyone." That's kind of a hard standard to live up to if you're not collecting those extremes.

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