If you walk into a library and find a bulletin board posting in the children’s section of the library inappropriate, what do you think will happen to you if you voice your opposition?
If you bring it up to the library’s attention, they will say “thank you” and not remove the posting. If you persist, they state, “Libraries do not bow to pressures to remove materials, images or information from our collections/premises.”
If you take your cause to the people, you might be lucky enough to have the editorial department of a local paper make you sound like an extremist.
The Brookfield Library put up a picture of mobster Al Capone in the children’s section of the library for their 1920s centennial display. While I disagree passionately about taxpayers’ money going toward exposing children as young as 5 years old to a mass murderer and pimp, I am more concerned about the question, “Does a library have a right to expose our children to anything without recourse?”
In regards to the library’s bulletin board that highlights historical events for each decade of the centennial, the library very well could choose to put up a picture of native Chicagoan and founder of Playboy, Hugh Hefner, for the 1950s display. From my knowledge, he was not a mass-murderer, so he should qualify by the library’s filter.
Or perhaps the 1980s display will contain a picture of Salman Rushdie. From a literary standpoint, his fourth novel was the center of a major controversy of freedom of speech and print. Certainly he would meet the library’s filter for what is appropriate for children even if his picture might be considered unpleasant or difficult to some.
You might think that these examples might be extreme, but the library made a choice to not replace Al Capone and with another more appropriate major event or person such as Steamboat Willie (aka Mickey Mouse). Or is Mickey Mouse too extreme for our children?
Library officials do not need to filter history for the parents and children of the community. Just let us freely explore the Library. We can determine for ourselves the major events for this centennial celebration.
The library’s centennial children’s section bulletin board was a good idea, but not knowing what to expect in upcoming displays, it is time for the library to take down this display and let the community celebrate the centennial in peace.