Banned Book Week is here! The kids are on the lookout for OQS’s Most Wanted (aka me), who is happily spreading the word about the gift of Intellectual Freedom and sharing any and all books here in the OQS library. We’re talking about how libraries are here as the ultimate haven for research and knowledge, and the role of the library in our community. We’ve had amazing conversations based on these fun and silly pictures!
Students in fourth and fifth grade also watched this video from the American Library Association, which explains why censorship is an issue for libraries and last year’s 11 most challenged books in America.
Finally, I shared this article with older students about the recent banning of the Harry Potter series in a Nashville private school, which led to a lot of interesting discussion! Students understand that parents have every right to decide what is appropriate for their children to read, but we wondered if the same was true for a school administrator or a teacher? Students had a lot to say on the subject!
I always love reminding students that libraries are a place they can trust to get the facts, as well as how lucky we are to live in a country where they have the right to any and all information (deemed appropriate by their families). So much great discourse and impassioned feelings, as well as fun!
Banned Book Week, the American Library Association’s annual event which celebrates intellectual freedom and an individual’s freedom to read, has taken over Ottauquechee School! Before I post photos of what’s going on at OQS specifically, I wanted to be sure to share the thought process behind this event.
One of my greatest privileges as a librarian is the knowledge that I am making information of all types available to students with open hearts and inquisitive minds. I do not censor what books are purchased for the library, and I hope that all viewpoints and perspectives are present in all areas of the library, from fiction to biographies to picture books to the non-fiction. My job is to help guide your students in their inquiry, not to decide which information is “right.” Besides any question of age-appropriateness, I can’t think of any reason to keep a book out of the hands of a person who is seeking knowledge.
And the American Library Association agrees with me. Learn more here.
I already had a rousing discussion with fourth grade today about why a book would be challenged, how they would feel to have information censored from them, and whether or not this kind of censorship exists in this country. All amazing and thought-provoking questions and answers. Why not ask your student what he or she is learning about banned books this week?
What a week, filled with intrigue, corruption, illicit and criminal behavior! And that was just on the part of the staff! What more could you ask of National Banned Book week?
To be clear, we at OQS do not condone censorship or the banning of books; in fact, we do everything we can to promote books that are discouraged elsewhere because we believe in an individual’s right to decide, with his or her family’s guidance, what they would like to read. We celebrate that freedom, in fact!
When it comes to the students, however, we definitely played up the reverse psychology aspect of Banned Book week. You should hear a group of third graders when you start discussing how they would feel without the freedom to choose their own books. We had a lot of rabble-rousing in the library this week, and even the threat of a protest! I’ll take a discussion of civil liberties whenever I can get one, especially when it comes to reading!
The piece de resistance came in the form of the Ottauquechee School’s Most Wanted list, including members of the staff who have been found guilty (with accompanying mugshot) of loving books on the banned books list! Way to stand up for your right to read, OQS!
Our resident hooligan, Mr. Clough!
This isn’t even all of the staff members who enthusiastically volunteered to be caught red-handed with their favorite “banned” books. It was such an awesome week with so much enthusiasm and passion for reading that it warmed this librarian’s heart. If your student came home with a surprising book, it’s probably because during our discussion, I explained that somewhere across the country, it is considered a banned book. Nothing motivates kids to do something more than when others tell them they can’t!
So proud of the entire school’s enthusiasm and passion for all books and for reading!