In my past life before kids I was the acquisitions clerk at our town’s library which pretty much meant I ordered everything a patron could check out. I didn’t select the materials. I simply acquired them. Staff from within the different departments made the selections. Everything was fair game within their genre. The library had a strict policy about censorship which meant you would find just about everything there except hard core pornography.
Our director at the time felt that it was the library’s job to have what the public was looking for. Just because one group of people were against something didn’t mean another person might not want to study it or find use for the materials. In the years that I worked there I seen orders for all kinds of things come across my desk, simply everything from soup to nuts whether it was popular fare or controversial. Occasionally we would receive something that was deemed inappropriate for library use. Maybe the selector had seen the subject matter and thought it was perfect but didn’t realize what all it entailed. Having worked in a public library setting I was in the trenches of censorship and was often aware of what was considered appropriate or what wasn’t. It rarely had to do with content and had more to do with how the material would be used. Was it a journal, did it include crayons, materials to get started with origami, or something else that would be long gone by the time it was returned to the library?
Very rarely do we read about groups protesting books and having old fashioned bon fires these days. Because of the movie rating systems that are in place today movies are classified so the viewer will know what to expect. They are not banned, and in my opinion they shouldn’t be. It falls under the “freedom of speech” clause in our constitution. It is good to know what to expect but not ok to take it out of circulation completely. What may not be appropriate for some may be useful or entertaining to someone else.
With warnings and ratings on music, videos, books, movies, and television we can make informed choices about what we want to read, view, or buy. If the stuff isn’t out there, we lose our right to choose. In today’s world most information is readily available and only a few keystrokes away or a double click of the old mouse. It is out there, uncensored with no holds barred for whoever happens to be looking for it whether on the internet or in the local library. It is as it should be. That is all I have to say about that until next time when I give you another glimpse into the life of a trucker’s wife.