Board Elections and Librarians? Is there a relationship?

I asked students today in high school, what do you feel about someone else dictating your tastes in resources. I am placing one student comment here and over the next few days will also represent the 45 other student responses as we collect them, as asking students about what is happening around them is often the one aspect of any decision that is often left out. And asking a school librarian too (that is another post, lol).

“My personal belief regarding books, is everyone and anyone, no matter what they identify as or their race or background, should be able to read whatever as they please. I don’t feel it’s right to take that away from someone who wants to relate to what their reading. not everyone has to read these books, it is their decision to make that choice. regardless if these books are taken out of libraries, they are on other platforms to be read, the internet is a source to everything. “

Here is one thing I will say – Parents/guardians have never been forced, pushed, or put into a position to not say or restrict what their child should read, bring home, hear. Ever. Turning the tables around and asking for a Parents Bill of Rights when it comes to literacy or the role of a professional librarian, and not trusting them, not communicating with them, and certainly not being in the “know” about what a whole book, from cover to last page is about (not excerpts but reading the whole book) – and not even being aware IF there is a professional librarian in a school – these are all steps that should be taken BEFORE jumping to needing a bill, law, or policy passed.

Many, if not all, professional trained librarians indeed have a Collection Development Policy created to break down any questions or fears individuals might have.

Organization like American Library Association, American Association for School Libraries, INSURE that librarians are representing ALL patrons fairly, equally, and without political and personal bias. This has not changed in the training of professional librarians ANYWHERE, at ANY TIME.

Parents and guardians are indeed responsible for the guidelines of discipline, access to media in many forms, and information that is important and of value to their family. No bills are needed to reinforce that. No schools and certainly no libraries I have ever worked at or represented have ever violated. that.

If anything, professional librarians make available all resources to all individuals of all beliefs, races and identities. School boards recognize that and support that, not challenge that and in harmony, school boards, admin, teachers, and faculty work in harmony towards that end.

It is not always perfect, but I can tell you, when individuals feel they need to put guardrails on freedoms of literacy, research, and diversity of ideas and not have them available to all patrons, there is a serious cause of concern.

If a student or young person wants to truly disregard the values of a family and find something on the internet, I hate to break his to you, but they will. However, starting with family bases, be it a grandparent, relative, or friend, values that are instilled in individuals through all kinds of family situations are where values originate.

When you vote for school board members, ask yourself these questions:

How often has the candidate reached out to students and found out their perspective of what they value in a school day? What do they like to explore, discover, research and what is their passion? Dream?

How often has a candidate taken an excerpt of a news article, book, journal and is unaware of the WHOLE piece of article, book, or journal?

How many times has a candidate visited a public/school library and communicated with the professional librarian about their routines, policies, choices, elections and the type of patrons that make up their school community?

What is the value of a school librarian to the candidate? Since professional librarians are the first line of knowledge when it comes to resources, what conversations have been made with professional librarians and the candidate of how they impact the school? Is there a professional librarian encouraging readers to check out at least 2-4 items per week and introducing them to a variety of reading scenarios?

Please consider these questions and if your candidate is not actively aware of these grounded questions, you have the right as a vested individual, whether retired, a parent, a cousin, a grandparent to get to know your professional librarian, public or school setting, and have a intelligent, well-directed conversation about these topics.

Professional librarians have been navigating HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of diverse patrons all of their lives – they are TRAINED to do so. That is what makes them professional and respected for all of these years, despite hints and rumors that topics unsavory and smutty are being introduced to library users.

I have been in inner city schools, suburban schools, rural schools, schools in two other countries, and in all their libraries. Never have I seen a child, aged kindergarten to 12th grade influenced detrimentally by a professional librarian. They have obtained their influences from the individuals that surround them, even the students that are in foster care- and always, the library has been their very best location to find a resemblance of themself, if a professional librarian is part of the school equation.

Freedom to Read –


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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