19 April, 2010

Things That Make Me Go Stabby

Attention Parents: please stop screwing with libraries. Please don't ask the librarians to wade into the murky gray area of "inappropriate." (I love the smell of mixed metaphors in the morning!)

LEESBURG – A Leesburg mother who successfully challenged the young-adult book policy at the Leesburg Public Library is expanding her campaign, hoping to get warning labels placed on some books in libraries across the county.

Dixie Fechtel recently got the backing of Liberty Counsel, a conservative legal-advocacy group in Maitland. She's asking Lake County commissioners and library officials to label objectionable books aimed at middle- and high-school students.

Fechtel and another Leesburg mother, Diane Venetta, are targeting books that Fechtel says are "glorifying illegal behavior."

"What we're talking about here [are books] depicting a lifestyle that just doesn't work if they're going to be the leaders of our nation," she said. "It's a shame that we as a community are feeding [teens] this kind of garbage."

One of the books that started the mom on her quest was a "Gossip Girl" novel. Umm...hello? You didn't know that was going to be inappropriate (and crap) just by the title? Apparently she's already managed to somehow convince the Leesburg library to label some Young Adult books "high school" and put them on a special shelf in the YA section. The kicker? Kids aren't restricted from checking out any book in the section. So now you've just made it easier for the kids to find books about drugs and sex. Just go to the "high school" section!

Look, I was a precocious kid and a voracious reader when I was little. I was reading Sweet Valley High books when I was in the 4th grade. That's inappropriate subject material! You know what? It didn't turn me into anything bad.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom in Chicago, said labeling books would put a burden on libraries and force librarians to act as parents.

"The whole issue of rating content gets into the rat's nest of who decides what's too much, what's too little, what is banned and what is not," she said. "What it comes down to is: It's the parent's decision."

So why not simply ask the parents to be parents? Why not expect them to talk to their children and know what they are reading and watching on TV? Why not use the books with questionable themes as a learning opportunity? Oh yeah, because it's easy to ask the librarians (whose funds and staffing have been cut all over the country, but that's another story) to parent your children for you.

Maybe these moms got their ideas from a book that should be marked for its questionable content!

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