Thursday, October 04, 2007

Just thinking ...

Everyone has an opinion regarding censorship and banned books, it's inevitable. As an adult I have issue with the idea of someone presuming to tell me what I can read.

I have great respect for a parents right to determine what their children should, or should not, be allowed to read. However, I do not need the same parent to determine what other children should read. Nowhere is this type of conversation more interesting than in a library.

We have a new librarian on staff who is younger (praise be) and has made the move to academics from a large public library. Previously a young adult librarian, she has a fresh take on what is currently popular for teens. I relied heavily on my pubic library purchases with beginning basic juvenile purchases here and as such mentioned if there were any books she felt we needed to let me know; she could order them with her general money, I could incorporate them into one of my orders, or our cataloging librarian (she also a fantasy and sci-fi buff so I do not need to purchase much in that genre), who purchases children's books with an endowment fund and is always glad for input, could add them. A quick request was to purchase additional titles, we had one, in the Stephanie Myer series featuring Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse. It has generated some buzz on staff and opinions have been fun to hear. I can listen but not participate as I have not read the books, I do not care for the vampire portion of the paranormal genre. Talk has ranged from "the next Harry Potter, I don't think so" to "I was disappointed" to "this is great" and "do we really need books on vampires?" No one has said we should not have the series, but some are not thrilled.

I finished reading a book on Monday that was well-written, though a bit slow at the beginning, dealt with a teenage boy's struggle with his mother's death from cancer, his fear of not living up to his more popular older brother, very real issues of abandonment, and the deeper concept of assisted suicide. The main character's struggle and feelings of abandonment were realistic, as was the dialogue between adults and young adults. I was not thrilled with the cavalier use of drugs throughout the story; no one saw anything wrong with the older brother, younger brother, and friends using drugs and in one instance the main character has dinner with his father while stoned. In some ways this effected my enjoyment of the book and was a personal observation. With it being banned books week I admit to pondering how parents might react to this title in a school library. While the argument could be made it was reflective of real life, it could also be said "not my real life."

The comic strip blurb at the top of this post is from Unshelved, it is the strip from today, Thursday, October 4, 2007. As previously mentioned, the site is running their Banned Books Week panels from 2003 - library patrons are being allowed to ban books as they see fit.

Just another instance of early lunch blogging. I'll need a new book on the way out today.

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