The Reference Librarian is Confused

in #blog8 months ago (edited)

Many libraries are fighting a renewed war against censorship as self-righteous neo-puritans demand the removal of anything they have deemed "obscene." The problem is that so many individuals have different ideas about what is OK and what is not OK. For example, are talking animals cute, an affront to God's divine spirit granted solely to humanity, or an unscientific deception?

A few days ago, I had a patron who wanted new mysteries without graphic sex, violence, or profanity. After that, I had another reader who thought it wasn't an authentic story without those same elements.

Just today, I went on a deep dive through our digital catalog looking for stories that would appeal to a pre-teen lad while passing the approval criteria of his parents. I am a bit bewildered because wartime historical fiction is OK, but classic adventure stories and Sherlock Holmes mysteries solving murder are not. Treasure Island wasn't even acceptable!

War is mass murder, but is it somehow sanctified because the scumbags who lied, stole, and cheated to build a political career said it was necessary? I see hypocrisy, but I seem to be alone. Imagine if I argued that since I am an anarchist who rejects political authority, every hagiographic history and government-glorifying thriller needed to be burned? That would be terrible, but celebrating the fire-bombing of civilian cities is A-OK somehow.

Censor your own media consumption to your heart's content, but don't censor others, and please question whether your own discrimination may be hypocritical. And go borrow some classic fiction from your local library.

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Whatever happened to if you do not like something, do not read it. Just because you do not agree with it does not mean that others will feel the same. The Governor of Fl is the worst, just last year he banned 357 books, I looked it up.

There is a limit to this for sure. Children and young teens do not need to be consuming pornographic material in their books. In my opinion there should be no sexual content allowed for kids under 16. I would go so far as to say kissing shouldn’t even be allowed in books for kids under 12. It’s just not at all children appropriate content. I don’t know the exact titles that were restricted from them but I heard from a resource that they were quite appropriate to remove from the grasp of young children. Sexualizing kids does nothing but fuck them up later on in life.

At 16 it’s questionable but getting to the age where they can have some fictional stories that have sections of the book where there is a little bit of description of it. Dean Koontz comes to mind, he has some sex scenes in his books but they are very tame and I appreciate that. We don’t need graphic porn scenes in books for kids at all.

I have seen widespread accusations of "pornographic" material and a distinct lack of evidence when these people are pressed. Are books about Renaissance art "pornographic" because some paintings and sculptures depict nudity? Objectively not. But some declare any book anywhere in the library with such content is "pushing pornography." What "sexual content" have you seen at your local library, and how is it catalogued?

Every section of the library covers a range of reading abilities and interests. "Young Adult" literature sometimes includes content I don't think is appropriate, but I guarantee teens are not being introduced to the idea of sex at the library. Many books I see these self-righteous censors condemn is not glorifying such behavior, but describing the challenges and circumstances the protagonist faces and overcomes. All too many teens are already dealing with issues of LGBTQ conflicts, domestic abuse, and even rape. Removing books that might actually help them contextualize things doesn't help them.

Remember also that we need to cover difficult topics like how to teach kids sex ed in an age-sppropriate way, what kids need to know in order to say "no' if they are being abused, and so forth. We have parents specifically seeking those resources. Little Johnny wants books about cars and dinosaurs.

Did you ever find any "appropriate" books for the boy?

Maybe. He borrowed 1 or 2, and I ordered a few more as holds. We'll see what mom and dad say when they are delivered from around the district.

I love how people think that their opinions are global and anyone who doesn't comply should be forced to do so, but the same being applied to them is terribly oppressive annd unfair and has to be fought against XD

I am so glad I don't have to deal with too many people like that so I don't have to share your closing sentiment too often XD

I think this is an unfortunate byproduct of the aggression with which these woke Marxist’s have been pursuing the minds of children and trying to fuck them up. The grooming and shit is nauseating with how they are trying to destroy youth and one of the first things that started was putting wildly inappropriate reading material into the hands of children and libraries.

Parents are a little extra sensitive on the topic right now, rightfully so I think, because they don’t want their kids being sexualized. It’s definitely a weird time in American history right now. I don’t know if we’ve had as much polarization as we do now, but I suspect in the Cold War things were similar for a period, with people trying to snitch on others for being Russian agents and shit.

I do think that some of it is unfortunately poor choice on the parents but it’s a pendulum, it swung so far to the left that the parents often had to aggressively turn it to the right to get it back to somewhere in the center. I don’t want my kid to read about these things either but I would rather him read some of the books from the 80’s and 90’s that have some of the content sprinkled in where I know it’s far more tame and age appropriate than the shit that comes out today.

People are more willing to believe what muckrakers say on the internet or stories they read about big city libraries and assume it is happening in small town America, and instead of going to the library to see for themselves, they assume the worst about their neighbors.

They also forget that the library is for everyone, including the most stereotypical conservative religious homeschoolers and flamboyant liberal homosexual atheists. A library serving a diverse community will have something which offends everyone. It is the job of readers and parents to be discriminating borrowers, not the job of librarians to discriminate against books and topics.

We try to catalog and shelve items appropriately here, and not to push a "woke" agenda. I suspect most libraries are the same. It was just a few years ago when there was uproar over old Dr. Seuss illustrations being too racist, Laura Ingalls Wilder not portraying modern attitudes toward the native Americans, and I. K. Rowling not being woke enough regarding transgenderism. This battle is not partisan for us.

Unfortunately Machiavellian petty gods seek to control our understanding as a means of generating profit to themselves. Pathological people exist, and seek to farm cash cows. Some of them, more unfortunately yet, are extraordinarily good at it, and take food out of our mouths.

One of the realities I have had to accept is that there are forces that push the opposite of what they seek to achieve to generate involuntary support for their actual goals by creating backlash, and this is ongoing today at extremely rarefied economic levels by parties intent on totalitarian fascist dictatorship they intend to profit and benefit from.

The optimum solution to we who intend to be free, which is most people whether they know it or not, is to create alternatives to centralized industry and governance that avail us of our desired civil society. We need to be the rulers we enjoy so that we don't suffer rule we find anathema.

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