Each week, we reflect on the top articles, blog posts, tweets, news, thoughts, and other tidbits we’ve found interesting or useful. Check out what our writers have spotted this week in library news. Enjoy!
The latest Library 2.0 web mini-conference: Social Crisis Management in a 21st Century World, addressed contemporary issues for libraries in light of growing social and economic disparities around the world. Speakers addressed the role libraries can play in various crises, with topics ranging from homelessness to responding to an active shooter. If you missed the live sessions, be sure to check out the recordings available (registration required, but access is free).
What Hogwart’s house do you belong in? In honor of the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter novel, Pamela Groseclose on the ALSC blog has created a list of children and young adult reading suggestions for each Harry Potter house. Felix Felicis!
Porn in school library databases? That’s the controversy going on in my home town of Denver. Several districts have cancelled their subscription to the aggregator, and most recently, Cherry Creek School District contacted EBSCO in order to censor search results. The cause of this is the activism of a concerned parents group who claim their students can access pornography through the database. Here is the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom Office’s Jamie LaRue’s wonderful response to the issue. For most of us, this whole thing is patently absurd. However, maybe we need to do better about communicating with parents and the general public about what it means to be committed to intellectual freedom. This is part of a larger conversation that we need to have about what it means to have unfettered access to information. Conversely, it makes it hard to imagine what else can be done when the news coverage is so slanted. Notice in the first article, the language used is 100% in line with the way the “concerned” parties are phrasing things. They clearly didn’t bother asking information professionals or educators. It’s also rather difficult to take these challenges against EBSCO seriously because the “concerned” parties do not seem to be operating in good faith. They appear to be looking for a win, and the line that they are protecting children feels more like a Trojan horse for politically motivated censorship than an honest end-goal. If we take a look at the group’s website, and their use of absurdly over-the-top rhetoric, it’s quite clear that these people either have never used EBSCO, or are using this issue to concern troll their way into a political victory over the school district, and by extension, those who support it.
These concerned parties may be honest yet misguided, or some combination of cynical, opportunistic, and malicious. I’m not entirely sure yet, but I have my suspicions. Anyway, enough of my editorializing. Let me know what you think about this mess in the comments.
Cover photo from Alan Wu on Flickr Commons. Changes were made in adapting this image. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.