Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Admonishing Sinners

Ahh, such a talent I have---NOT!

Today, I told my small city librarian today that I didn't think an American History book where the first chapter is subtitled "Notorious Whores" and the author's insulting thesis is that "the early roots of American Democracy are identical to the Taliban" should be shelved in our children's section.

Her response: "Well, not every book is going to be right for every family!"


  1. Yes, I totally agree. While I wouldn't ban the book, I certainly think it deserves some sort of restrictive section status or something like that. When I was a kid, a friend of mine and I were able to check out romance novels and the librarian never batted an eye. When my friend's mom got home and realized that the books we checked out were adult romance novels, she about flipped, confiscated them, and I am pretty sure had a good talking to to the library about how adult romance novels are not for 9 year olds. But we didn't really know. We were kids. The covers looked interesting (isn't that the allure of a romance novel).

  2. Yeah, that was my main beef with this book. I, as an adult, picked it off the shelf because it had a pretty cover. I got it home and was stunned. Honestly, I've never read such junk in my life.

    I thought it was so misleading!

    If my kid had a romance novel, I would know to be careful. If my kid was reading "The English Civil War" I would give her a big thumbs up! I would have NO idea that it had bad language and was totally insulting to our faith. That seems so totally unexpected from a history book.

  3. Oh, Leila, I TOTALLY lost this argument. Apparently the "American Library Association" gave this book their approval.

    Supposedly, this historian writes "to attract teenage boys...."

    Hurrah! We officially have NO standards left in either language OR historical scholarship.

  4. Abby, doesn't your library have a teen or YA section? It seems like it should be at LEAST shelved there-- although I would shelve it in adult. Your library should have a complaint form where you can challenge the shelving. In fact, if they don't have a form, they are working against ALA rules and regs. If they don't have a form, you should find out who the director is and send him or her a letter explaining that the book is "inappropriate for the age group" in which it is filed. You may not win, but at least fight the fight. Good luck!
    --Jeanne G.

  5. Hi, I stumbled onto your blog from Jennifer Fulwiler's blog a couple months ago, and I just had to comment on this post.

    I work at a library and am a member of ALA, and yet I feel like it's very difficult to be a moral person in such a secular job. ALA promotes the ideals of intellectual freedom and anti-censorship (see the Library Bill of Rights), which means that sometimes I pick up a book and am astounded and ashamed of the content, and yet cannot do anything about it! I get especially upset when I find these items labeled Juvenile or Young Adult.

    At my branch I work with teens and keep up the Young Adult section, and sometimes I feel like a smut peddler. The content of many teen books is soooooo questionable. Some of the worst ones have won literature awards and are recommended by ALA. These books promote secular "morals" (relativism, etc.) to the extent that I'm afraid teens who read lots of YA books might not realize there are other options. I guess I am so concerned about YA books because literature led me to abandon Christianity as a teen, and it took me a long time to come back.

    I imagine you have a better shot getting the history book re-shelved into the adult section at a small library than a large city with many branches....good luck!

  6. This is small potatoes compared to their stance on allowing pornography to be viewed on public computers in libraries!

    Libraries are one of my favorite places to be. I refuse to turn them over to those who do not really understand Truth and Beauty. I'm fighting for my turf! When I find very offesive books in the children's or YA section, I will reshelf them somewhere deep in the astrophysics or italian architecture section. In adult sections, I at least turn them around or push them between the stacks. If I ever saw someone viewing porn on a library computer, I would certainly make a statement then and there. The librarians are protecting freedom of speech - and it includes MINE!

    On a more positive note, I try to make friends with the librarians. I'm so close to the head children's librarian at our library now that she will purchase almost any book recommendation I make. Our library is getting a beautiful selection of lovely, well-illustrated saints' books.