Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I Don't Quite Understand This

An on-line publication called CJR Daily: Real-time Media Criticism from the Columbia Journalism Review comments on TheNew York Times article about The Higher Power of Lucky.

Let's try to forget about the whole scrotum issue for a moment and focus on a couple of paragraphs toward the end of the CJR piece:

"Some librarians obviously disagree, countering that the book is simply inappropriate for children in the 3rd grade. "We don't include middle and high school level books because the content is inappropriate for the age level," writes one anonymous blogger in New York. "Is that censorship?"

Yep, that's the definition: Anytime material is kept away from eyes or ears because of its content, it is censorship. But is that censorship warranted?"

School libraries can't make purchasing decisions based on the age of their student population? Forget about sexual content and anatomically correct terminology. If school librarians decide that, say, 1776 is over the heads of most of their student population and pass on buying it, that's censorship? (I haven't read 1776, by the way. For all I know it's not over anyone's head. But pretend it is.) And what about high school librarians? If they decide not to buy Junie B. Jones because they work in a high school, is that censorship?

If they can't make decisions around the needs of their student population, just how are they supposed to make decisions?

And what about the line "But is that censorship warranted?" Does that suggest to anyone else that sometimes censorship is okay?


Katie said...

I understood from the author's statements that the book was aimed at children aged 9 to 12, and the protagonist herself is 10, so wouldn't that suggest that it's perfectly appropriate for third graders? This whole thing just seems silly from beginning to end.

Imani said...

I would say someone needs to go to a library and check the definition of "censorship" because the mere selection of books to fit your demographic ain't it.