Monday, August 31, 2009

Thoughts on the ALA Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights

I recently visited the ALA Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights webpage for one of my library classes and it got me thinking about a lot of aspects of library procedure that I've seen in the news recently. "Access for Children and Young Adults to Nonprint Materials" included this paragraph:

"[P]arents—and only parents—have the right and responsibility to restrict access of their children—and only their children—to library resources. Parents who do not want their children to have access to certain library services, materials, or facilities should so advise their children. Librarians and library governing bodies cannot assume the role of parents or the functions of parental authority in the private relationship between parent and child."'

This got me thinking about the And Tango Makes Three controversy that's been going on for the past couple of years. And Tango Makes Three has topped the ALA's most challenged books list for a third year in a row(1) and there continues to be controversy about this title. Recently a parent in Maryland has even tried to get her school board to mark this book with a red dot to warn parents of its controversial nature(2). This, of course, brings up the "Restricted Access to Library Materials" policy as well. The stance of the ALA on these subjects makes me proud to be a librarian in training.

The section "Evaluating Library Collections" reminded me of a rather amsuing blog that I've been following called "Awful Library Books." I think that it's important that libraries do not attempt to censor any material, but there are a lot of books out there that are just plain out of date and need to be replaced. I think it's important that libraries provide access not just to information, but to up-to-date and accurate information. At the very least I think a lot of the books on the website should be moved to the humour section!

I think that the section "Privacy" will play a crucial role in how libraries potentially use the Google books project. Several groups, including the ALA, have voiced concerns over the current privacy policy (or lack thereof) of the project(3). Based on the sentiment of library workers that I've talked to I think this could be a deciding factor in whether some libraries use this technology or not.

Overall I think this is a great resource from the ALA. It's good to be reminded of how ALA policy relates to all of these issues.

1. American Library Association (2009, April 16). Attempts to remove children’s book on male penguin couple parenting chick continue.

2. Bloom, D. P. (2009, November 22). It takes two to vilify ‘Tango’ -- book ban brouhahas picking up speed.

3. Helft, M. (2009, July 23). Advocates ask google for privacy guarantees in online library. The New York Times. Retrieved from

No comments:

Post a Comment