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Information Literacy @ Maag Library

Responding to Censorship

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James Larue, director of the Douglas County Libraries in Castle Rock, Colorado, offers a most reasoned and intelligent response to a patron’s call to censor a children’s book called “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding:”

Ultimately, [labeling a book for "parental guidance"] make up a governmental determination of the moral value of the story. It seems to me…that that kind of decision is up to the parents, not the library. Because here’s the truth of the matter: not every parent has the same value system.

You feel that a book about gay marriage is inappropriate for young children. But another book in our collection, “Daddy’s Roommate,” was requested by a mother whose husband left her, and their young son, for another man. She was looking for a way to begin talking about this with son. Another book, “Alfie’s Home,” was purchased at the request of another mother looking for a way to talk about the suspected homosexuality of her young son from a Christian perspective. There are gay parents in Douglas County, right now, who also pay taxes, and also look for materials to support their views. We don’t have very many books on this topic, but we do have a handful.

In short, most of the books we have are designed not to interfere with parents’ notions of how to raise their children, but to support them. But not every parent is looking for the same thing.

Library collections don’t imply endorsement; they imply access to the many different ideas of our culture, which is precisely our purpose in public life.

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