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  • Coffee Chat: Collection Development and Censorship - A different kind of discussion around a foundational topic for Librarians

Coffee Chat: Collection Development and Censorship - A different kind of discussion around a foundational topic for Librarians

  • 17 Mar 2022
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Zoom

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Coffee Chat: Collection Development and Censorship - A different kind of discussion around a foundational topic for Librarians

When we talk about the issues of censorship and collection development, we are often talking about it in a certain way. Patrons and special interest groups frequently challenge materials that they deem inappropriate for public consumption or for specific age groups...and we fight against those challenges.

But what about the challenges that can creep up from within? Are we clocking our own biases enough? Are the book reviewers? Are challenges coming in less obvious ways (informal, internal, from the "other side" of the political spectrum)?

Courtney Sparks (Freeport Community Library) and Wynter Giddings (Curtis Memorial Library) have had a lot of conversations about this over the past year. Some of the questions we have been asking ourselves and wish to discuss with you:

  • Are the more common book review publications (Booklist, LJ, NYT, Kirkus, etc.) censoring conservative materials by not reviewing them as much? Is this keeping those books off our radar unless we seek them out elsewhere?
  • In the effort to buy books that address DEI and SJ topics, are we ignoring other perspectives on these topics out of fear that anything that doesn't fit the current standards of "politically correct" or "woke" could be labeled racist, homophobic, transphobic, etc.?
  • What is the line? Librarians used to be neutral and more and more we are moving away from neutrality and towards more of a social justice mindset - how far do we go with that, before we get into the territory of groupthink, by focusing too heavily on certain perspectives?
  • Is the word "problematic" a euphemism for something we wish to censor?
  • Are we still concerned with providing information from a variety of perspectives, or are we becoming more concerned with shaping our communities' views to fit what we think they should be? And are we aware of how our purchases impact everyone in our communities, even when their values contradict our own (both personal and professional)?

This is a lot- we know.

But we need to talk about this stuff in order to tend to our garden and stay true to the principles of Intellectual Freedom - so please grab a hot beverage and join us. Whether you come to listen or share, we hope you'll take advantage of this free MLA membership perk to connect with other library workers in the state!

Zoom link provided in your registration confirmation email.


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