Saturday, February 18, 2006

More Challenges, This Time in Minnesota

Another school district wrestles with books challenges, this time in Minnesota:

Once again, the issue that got the ball rolling was a character questioning his sexuality, and a same-sex kiss.

One potential compromise involves giving parents the option of not allowing their kids to check out certain books:
Thomas Tomporowski, Perham's library media specialist, said all books in the library are categorized by age interest, from lower grades to upper grades.

Any book labeled of interest for upper grades now have a “U” placed on them; parents can request librarians not let their children check out any books with that marking.

The downside to that approach is that classic books written by Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck and Louis L'Amour, for example, are on the “U” list.

Tomporowski said the books he's brought into the libraries have been vetted by ratings boards for quality and age appropriateness.

“I have only the money to bring in the cream of the crop,” he said.
This doesn't strike me as the worst idea in the world, and I like that it involves parents in what their kids are reading (I also like the irony of books by Dicks and Steinbeck being restricted). But I fear it could lead to librarians not buying any books rated "U," thereby allowing some parents decide for all families what they can and cannot read.

Anyone? Thoughts?


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