professornana (professornana) wrote,

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SpeakLoudly for Libraries

I live in the best of two worlds in academia. I work in a Library Science program where all I teach is literature for children and teens. How that happened is a long story. Let's just say that this position has meant I have learned a great deal about libraries and librarians, especially in schools. My background as an ELA teacher gives me a unique perspective in a department where the remainder of my colleagues were school librarians. I was not. I have mentioned in the past that I never considered becoming a librarian because I had the best school librarian one could ever hope to have in Rosemary Smith. So, I elected to travel a road not taken. And that has made all the difference.

So, as we begin National Library Week, I wanted to SpeakLoudly about the role librarians play, especially in the school (dear friends who are in the public library, I adore you. You kept funneling me books when I was a kid, books we could not afford to buy. You nourished my very soul and helped me develop a reaqder's heart and mind). Here is one essential role: a school with a certified librarian and an adequate collection has a positive impact on test scores (and vice versa). Check out the stats here:

And here is the other essential role of the librarian: protecting our right to read. One look at the top challenged books shows you why we must stand up and SpeakLoudly:

Here is the OIF’s Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books in 2012:
■Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey (offensive language, unsuited for age group)
■“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie (offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group)
■“Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher (drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group)
■“Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James (offensive language, sexually explicit)
■“And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (homosexuality, unsuited for age group)
■“The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini (homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit)
■“Looking for Alaska,” by John Green (offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group)
■Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz (unsuited for age group, violence)
■“The Glass Castle,” by Jeannette Walls (offensive language, sexually explicit)
■“Beloved,” by Toni Morrison (sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence)

I have read all but one of these books. I plan to read the one I have missed to celebrate National Library Week. What will you do?
Tags: censorship, libraries, schools, speakloudly, tests
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