Thursday, May 7, 2009

Can WBCFSL Parent Your Children Better Than You Can?

Lately the Daily News has had several letters to the editor in which the authors ask, "what would be so wrong in moving these books?" Let's address that question with a few more.

If we (the community) allow the library to enact a policy that allows books to be classified (or reclassified) based on someone's subjective opinion on how explicit the sexual content is(WBCFSL's latest request....they no longer want to ban books or move books), what would happen? Well, first the library would have to develop criteria to determine what would be considered sexual content, and a scale to determine at what point the material is too explicit for a minor audience. How much (in taxpayer dollars and library resources) would this take? WBCFSL has suggested this policy but makes no recommendations as to how it would be enacted and how it would be payed for.

After the policy criteria was determined, someone would have to read through all of the materials in the Young Adult and Juvenile/Children's section of the library to determine which books need to be reclassified. Who would do this (i.e., an individual, such as a member of the staff, or a committee) and who would pay for this (the taxpayer)?

When the policy is enacted, how would challenges be handled? When the library is faced with numerous lawsuits because this policy/procedure is unconstitutional, who would pay for the legal expenses (taxpayers/City of West Bend)?

Ginny Maziarka of WBCFSL has said that she agrees (link; read comments) she does not have the right to decide what is appropriate for children other than her own. However, the petition asks for the creation of a policy that will make these determinations for others.

Really, this whole debate comes down to this question: who do you want to decide what is appropriate for your, or WBCFSL?


  1. Thank you for taking action on such an important issue. Our community is isolated enough - without an open library we will become bigoted and out of touch. Please keep it up!

  2. A bit late to be posting here, but just wanted to say great work! I have three kids, and they are a wonderful excuse to read a ton of children's and YA books. But I can't imagine expecting the library to do it for me. Thought I'd mention an article in today's NY Times about a mother attempting to stamp out birthday cupcakes in the classroom. She doesn't want her daughter exposed to junk food. She probably wouldn't worry about sex, because it's not fattening, but the same personality type.