Sunday, July 24, 2005

Follow up on the Hillsborough County Controversy

The LIS*Dom blog has posted the list of books that the Hillsbourough County actually did not want the patrons to see. Take a jump over there, make a note, then go get some reading material. The post also includes some links to other sources of book lists and resources on the gay experience. There is also a quote from one of the local Tampa papers by a library patron who says librarians should not be promoting books. I wish I was making it up, but this person actually said it. Here is the full article. People like that just make me wonder what exactly it is they do when they allegedly go to the library. Apparently that person just makes a beeline for a section of the stacks without looking at a single display, getting reader's advisory, or God forbid take one of the suggested book lists I bet the library provides. I am assuming that person can find the way to the books at all. I don't often get negative, but remarks like that just exemplify a lot of ignorance about what librarians and libraries do. When I took my courses in reader's advisory, a big part was promoting the books, to bring books and readers together. When I work in instruction, a big part of what I do as I promote information literacy is to promote books and other resources. Promoting a library's holdings is part of what a library does. It is a way to create awareness of what is available, a way to educate on timely materials related to various topics, a way to bring people and resources together. I certainly understand that some people could care less if there is a reader's advisor around; they can find their way without ever going to a reference desk. But there are many who appreciate someone who can give them new ideas on what to read, and there are many who like knowing that someone qualified to help them out is nearby in case they need it. As for me, I am planning on promoting books, as many books, and other resources, on as many topics and diverse subjects as possible. If they are banned or challenged, so much the better. A little defiance now and then is a good thing. And I can think of no better way to shed light on the darkness of ignorance.

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