Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Freedom To Read!

In the May 2009 issue of Library Journal was an update on the Topeka, Kansas decision to retain sex-related titles on the shelf at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. A new vote by the board of 6-3 was declared, after months of consideration and to avoid a lawsuit. The decision came after many concern citizens, the ALA, and the library’s director sent letters and voiced their opinions about why the books should not be shelved behind the library’s desk, at the request of another patron. Earlier this year, a patron requested to have the four sex-related titles placed behind the library staff desk because of the “harmful to minors” law in Kansas. But the Director defended the library behalf stating, “Kim Borchers’s request violated the library’s materials selection policy, which says customers may not restrict the access of others and that the library does not label materials to make value judgments. Borchers’s request that the books be shelved behind a desk, thus requiring patrons to ask for them, would violate the library’s user confidentiality policy.” As a result the board decided to retain the four sex-related titles in the Library Health Information Neighborhood section, add a public service statement on their website, and a bulletin board alerting patrons about sex-related material.

When faced with the challenges of challenged books, every situation is different. In this case, I feel the Director and Library board handle its decision in a reasonable manner. I also like the idea of making patrons aware of their sex-related materials. I was faced with a similar situation, with a twelve year old asking for Young Adult material, which involved sex. I was a little skeptical at first, but remember what I have learned in my intellectual freedom course, “young people have their freedom to read”. I was a bit happy when the material was unavailable. I felt her parents should have been involved with her request.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Role of Librarianship!

What is the role of Librarianship? To provide great customer service to all patrons who utilize the libraries resources and to continue to provide this great customer service, librarians must stay abreast to the informational and technological advancement, which is developing at a rapid pace. How can this be accomplished, when most master degree programs do not offer, in their curriculum, an instructional course on how to teach user’s to LIS students. I read an article in the American Libraries magazine, June/July 2009 issue: Teaching How to Teach. The author Russell A. Hall voiced his opinion of how LIS programs should make “user instruction” a core course for its graduate requirement. Hall stated, “We need to provide patrons with the answer they need, context for that answered, and the ability to apply what they’ve learned in the future”. He felt this was not just for academic librarians; “public librarians should be well aware of the differences not only in the learning styles of their patrons, but also the processes by which different user groups…” Since user’s of all ages utilizes the library resources for the process of fulfilling their life-long learner needs, I would agree with Hall. How can librarians and staff alike, provide a service if they are not taught how to use the resources provided. Hall also stated “teaching librarians how to teach is something that should no longer be ignored in the LIS curriculum and information literacy is the future, if not present, of public services. The role of librarianship is changing everyday, from searching for information for patrons to teaching how to use the new technology available.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Delete DOPA!

Last week I participated in a discussion with other classmates who expressed their concerns about DOPA (The Deleting Online Predators Act) in the schools and public libraries. This bill, proposed by congress, would force public libraries and schools to prohibit students from social networking sites. The discussion leader asked the question (below):
-If DOPA is not the answer to protecting kids while they use social networking sites and chat rooms, what would you recommend?

An article I read in the School Library Journal, May 2009, presented a positive and useful way for social networking sites to encourage students to use their local libraries and YouTube for prizes. The article, Flipped!, by Jennifer Wooten, discussed how a local library used technology in their summer reading program as a way to promote reading. The Washington state’s King County Library System “decided to meet kids on their own turf by launching Read.Flip.Win., a video component of its summer reading program for teens”. The initial program began with the idea of “Read Three, Get One Free”, in which the teens write reviews of three books and as a prize received a book for free. But with the video component, the teens would create and submit a video book review or a trailer promoting a title. They would submit their videos on their YouTube account or if the students were younger than 13, on the libraries YouTube account. The goal of the library was to promote the use of technology as well as reading. If DOPA was enforce would the library be able to use the social networking site, such as YouTube or this great program?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Filtering Computers

Internet filtering is a topic that is addressed in many libraries around the country. Libraries have implemented internet policies to explain rules and regulations for library patrons. Libraries must offer free access to all resources regardless of its format and materials. So when access is denied or internet sites are restricted for minors to use, does it violate their right? The American library Association states that minors should have free and open access to any information. “Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minor’s equal and equitable access to all library resources and services available to other users violate the Library Bill of Rights. The American Library Association opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.” With that said is it legal or morally correct for librarians to allow minors to search via the internet porn on the library public computers? How should libraries maintain policies and procedures who want to restrict minors from being able to access this information? The ALA states, “lack of access to information can be harmful to minors”, but is allowing minors to view inappropriate sites is acceptable? The ALA also states, “librarians and library governing bodies should maintain that only parents and guardian have the right and the responsibility to determine their children’s and only their children’s access to library resource…Parents who do not want their children to have access to specific library services, materials, or facilities should advise tier children”. This matter is a very controversial issue and many libraries have begun to install filtering sites to restrict certain sites for minors.
I read an article from the Library Journal, about a debate over internet filters at the San Jose Public Library in California. After an 18 month debate, the decision was made by the City Council to install filters on the public computers, given the current fiscal crisis, the Council would rather spend money on elsewhere, but a decision was reached to install the filters on the children’s computers for protection. In my opinion, this is good choice, because parents are not always there to protect their children from certain situations. Also, some children may not have that parental guidance, therefore will not have the support they need to understand certain issues.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. Intellectual freedom is a course that I have been so eagered to take and now it's finally here. I hope to gain a lot of knowledge and understanding of this subject to help me as a Librarian in the future. Well let's begin and good luck to everyone!