School Libraries

Book banned in classes

Anonymous Patron tells us, via the Sacramento Bee, that the YA book Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey has been pulled from the supplemental reading lists of 7th-grade english classes in the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District.

Trustees voted 4-1 to stop the novel from being used for instructional purposes but will allow it to remain in libraries as long as students get parental permission to check it out. Trustee Susan Richardson cast the dissenting vote.
Superintendent Jeffrey Jennings said he did not feel the book was appropriate for seventh-graders.

"We should be able to have some discretion as to what our kids have to read," he said.

Information overload

Sad news Out of Indiana where they say finding a librarian in Indiana school libraries is getting more and more difficult.

As more information than ever is available to students via the Internet, fewer people are on staff at schools to help students make sense of it.

A shortage of both funding and personnel for school libraries is affecting the way students learn to find and use information, but it’s the lack of certified teacher librarians that has local library educators worried.

Librarian-Teacher Partnership Key to Student Success?

The Appoquinimink School District (DE) has begun promoting librarian-teacher collaboration to increase the academic performance of its students, taking a clue from numerous studies that demonstrate the benefits of such programs. Instead of students going to the library for small periods of time for library instruction, the schools' libraries will be open all the time, as classroom extensions, with lessons co-led by librarians and teachers. Despite the obvious benefits, there are issues with money, scheduling, staffing and implementing a new way. More information here from the News Journal Online.

Despite great promise, technology is dumbing down the classroom

Interesting One From SFGate.com that says This past year, as San Francisco school officials were dealing with budget cuts by laying off teachers and librarians and closing school libraries,

spending on city schools was increasing in another area: classroom computers.
Throughout the country, computer technology is dumbing down the academic experience, corrupting schools' financial integrity, cheating the poor, fooling people about the job skills youngsters need for the future and furthering the illusions of state and federal education policy.

Skeptics, Fortune Tellers, and Librarians

Rob Lopresti writes "In James Randi's latest commentary he includes a letter from Annette Paulsen who was upset by a book offered for sale at the fund raiser for her kid's school library:"Imagine my surprise when I saw this book on the shelf: "The Kids Guide to Fortune Telling" by Louise Dickson. I picked the book up and was shocked to see that it was presented as a nonfiction teaching tool. Now, understand that if this book was called "The Kids Guide to Fortune Telling for Fun," I would not have had a problem with it. I'm all for fun and games. I asked the Librarian if she thought that this was an appropriate book for children, thinking that perhaps she had not really looked at the book. Of course, she looked at me as if I had two heads. She stated that she hadn't really looked at it and asked if I also had a problem with Harry Potter? I told her, "Of course not. Harry Potter is a novel and clearly identified as such, and everyone knows that it is fiction. But when a book is categorized as nonfiction, and we all know that fortune telling is not real, I think we have an obligation to the children of our school to remove it from the shelves, until it is categorized appropriately, as fiction...""

Mom Petitions To Get Puberty Book Removed From Library

thedenverchannel.com Reports "The Cat Who Killed Lilian Jackson Braun: A Parody" and "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture," will remain on the shelves of libraries run by the Weld Library District.

But members of the board still are considering an objection to a book that has explicit depictions of sexual development during puberty.
Second Story Here.

School Library Perspectives

DEH writes ""More than Just a Pretty Face: and other observations on school libraries and teacher-librarianship" is the title of a webpage created by Donald Hamilton, formerly Education Librarian at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. The page offers a collection of short pithy provocative pieces that appeared in several journals over the past decade. They are offered without charge, to the field for any educational purpose. Check out the classic "Inventory: Folly or Fancy?" that has been reprinted many times. You will find the page at members.shaw.ca/donaldhamilton "

Librarian Sues School District

Anonymous Patron writes "If you want further information on the (AP) story about the Kansas librarian suing for $500,000, visit the website: http://www.hicksvusd470.com. Yes, he should have gotten written permision--too trusting after 25 years as the HS librarian. He verbally notified his building principal and the district library chairperson of his actions, both of which corroborated his testimony at the due process trial. Interestingly, USD 470's computer expert found a total of FIVE porn hits on the librarian's THREE year old computer." -- Read More

A delicate balance in the classroom

Here's An Editorial Out Of Indiana on an English class at Franklin Central High School had read about three-fourths of the novel "Fallen Angels" when the students were told to stop. Principal Kevin Koers decided the book was too profane, and it was dropped from the curriculum.
The editorial says obtaining parental consent is the best way to teach sensitive topics while protecting all students' sensibilities.

"Administrators and teachers need to look for ways to keep classrooms relevant, challenging and interesting while respecting the concerns of parents who want their children protected from influences they don't deem appropriate. That's a tough order."

Parent objects to book in catalog from school

Bob Cox spotted This One out of FL, where Jill Leskow is proud that her 11-year-old son likes to read, but when he brought home a catalog from school with the book title When Dad Killed Mom on its cover she was stunned.
But because of Leskow's complaint, the district is now looking into how to handle a review of the book catalogs before they reach students.

Labeling a book inappropriate, however, is not an easy process even when dealing with school libraries and reading material for English classes.

School librarians have a recommended list of books to choose from, but may purchase other books at their discretion. There is no banned-book list for Palm Beach County schools.

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