Oh, Doggone It
Have you heard the buzz over the fact that some of the librarians on the LM_Net listserv aren't going to booktalk or even buy The Higher Power of Lucky for the sole crime of using the word "scrotum"? I knew that a ninny or two might put their Helen Lovejoy faces on and scream, "Won't somebody please think of the children?", but I never dreamed it would be so many members of my own profession. The thought sickens me. PW had an article on these librarians and it really is enough to turn your stomach. If they haven't purchased it, what are the odds that all of them have read it?
Fortunately, Ms. Patron is a librarian herself and has posted a remarkable reply to those librarians who have chosen to stand as censors for other people's children.
If I were a parent of a middle-grade child, I would want to make decisions about my child's reading myself—I'd be appalled that my school librarian had decided to take on the role of censor and deny my child access to a major award-winning book. And if I were a 10-year-old and learned that adults were worried that the current Newbery book was not appropriate for me, I'd figure out a way to get my mitts on it anyway, its allure intensified by the exciting forbidden-ness—by the unexpressed but obvious fear on the part of these adults.Insofar as I can tell, none of these librarians had any problems with the kid in Kira-Kira getting his leg caught in a bloody bear trap. But involve a word of a body part and whoo-boy! Stand back, momma! Anything but the correct medical term for a portion of the male anatomy! Why, a kid who read that might (GASP!) ask their parents what it meant!!!! Oh, horrors! For the sake of my patrons' safety I should just keep myself from ever purchasing any books that could offend any parent at any time.
And thus we're back at Dick and Jane. White bread suburbia, here we come.