Within the librarian community there has been a tremendous rigmarole over Republican Vice President Nominee Governor Palin, stemming from real and fake issues. Unfortunately, some librarians were ready to steam roll her before checking their facts- without a doubt an uncommon and odd event. Librarians have a serious passion for disseminating information freely, without judgement, control from outside entities, and with equality and privacy. When we learn that someone in a position of power is trying to compromise that which we have a passion for … in short… all hell breaks loose. So much so that we lose ourselves in the scuffle and believe in wild accusations.
Rather then get into the Palin politics. I’d rather talk about some of the issues at hand and speak on behalf of myself as a librarian.
Contemporary American libraries are designed to accommodate a variety of cultures and peoples, catering to their likes and sensibilities. This includes sub-cultures and the occult. It isn’t for the library to decide whom to serve and whom not to serve. The library USED to do that when it went along with segregation and U.S. indoctrination of immigrants. However, we have progressed to a point of open and equal information distribution. While there may be titles in the library that even I don’t like, it isn’t for me or anyone else to decide that it is immoral and can’t be in the library. Sure the “Anarchist Cookbook” could be used for dastardly means, but it can also be used by police detectives. It isn’t for us to assume the usage. The goal of many public libraries is a well-rounded collection, so all patrons can find something of interest to them- collection development isn’t meant to enrage them. Patrons come with different beliefs and life experiences, so having the most diverse material is best.
When it comes to a children’s library you aren’t going to put a Chuck Palahaniuk title in there. However, if a teenager, pre-teen, child, etc. were to go into the adult section pick it up and check it out it isn’t for the library to stop them. Rather it is in the hands of the parents to monitor their children’s behavior. This issue goes deeper though. What if the parent wants a record of everything their child has checked out? The solution to this is that no library should have a record of old check outs, but only current items and late items. This is in the vein of privacy and protecting patrons’ information. I believe that parents have rights to access their children current checkouts, if the child is under 18. However, the library shouldn’t stop the child from checking something out; self-check completely renders human intervention ineffective. The library being unable to accommodate puts the impetus where it belongs, on the parents.
Every library has their own needs. Some libraries will allow parents to limit their childrens’ checkouts. It is up to the individual library branch/ district to determine their needs. However, no Government agency or outside force should infringe on a library decision. Libraries seek to do what is best for their patrons- not for a political agenda, moral high ground, or religious drive.
Now I present opposing blogs, for and against Palin:
update thanks to my buddy Dan: