24 July 2005

books they don't want on display in Hillsborough County, FL

If you haven't been following the news, here's the latest on the gay-themed books brouhaha in Florida. And here, courtesy of Martin Sicard, is a list of those extremely dangerous "teen-friendly books that were on display at the West Gate Library that spurred the Hillsborough County Commission to bar county agencies from acknowledging, promoting, and participating in Gay Pride recognition and events." Protests against the county's action have included a Read-In and something more like a Read-Out, featuring a librarian with a bullhorn. [Stories via LISnews.com]
The County keeps saying that they are not banning books, they are banning the endorsement of books, or, as one Tampa resident put it in the Tampa Tribune a few weeks ago
It's not the job of librarians to highlight collections of books, argued Patrick McDowell, a Tampa resident who frequents the West Gate library branch, where one pride display was removed. "I would defend their right to have the books in the library, but it's not their job to promote books.'' [full article]
Next thing you know they'll be telling us we're not supposed to promote literacy.

Finally, if you're looking for more gay-friendly teen lit to add to your collection, Martin also recommends Geography Club by Brent Hartinger, Luna by Julie Ann Peters, and Misfits by James Howe. I'd remind you not to forget the wonderful and frequently challenged Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden. Don't forget to check out the Lambda Literary Awards for books for all ages, and ALA's GLBT Round Table for some further resources.

Holy Smokes, I must have gone to the wrong library school. We are NOT supposed to promote books? I guess to that patron, we should fire all those Children's and Young Adults Services Librarians at once. So, indeed, what is next? No literacy? The more one hears about this story and patrons like that, the more ridiculous the whole thing seems. I wonder what that patron who allegedly frequents the library actually does once there.

Actually, I am very proud to be a librarian, and an Instruction Librarian at that, so I get to promote books AND literacy. Then again, don't we all? I know I will continue to do so.

By the way, thanks for the list. I think I will try to find one or two to read, not only in solidarity, but just because I am always on the lookout for new books to read.
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