October is International School Library Month and Canadian Library Month. Join us as we celebrate libraries, librarians, books, the learning commons, online reference, reading, literacy, research, access to information, and everything to do with the library.
People need to read books for book banning to even be a thing. This idea has been expressed in many different ways.
So Read. Keep reading. Read some more. Read what you want to read. Read what you decide to read.
Read for information. Read to learn. Read for fun. Read to escape. Read for entertainment. Read to experience the world from the point of view of different people. Read to cry. Read to be scared. Read to laugh.
Read to understand. Read to learn new things. Read to learn more about things you already know.
Read to learn the point of view of people that you might disagree with, even when you are certain that you will disagree with them. Read to consider new information, new evidence, new perspectives. Read critically, even skeptically, but read with an openness to change your mind when faced with rational and logical reasons to do so.
Read for whatever reason you decide. Stand up for your freedom to decide for yourself what you want to read.
That doesn’t mean you should read anything and everything. People that care about you might know why reading some things, at certain times, might not be so good for you. You might decide not read some books because of your age, maturity, or history. Some books might not be right for you because of your current mental or emotional health. Perhaps some material has nothing to offer you of any value. But that is for you to decide in cooperation with the people that you trust. That is not for other people, other groups, organizations or governments to decide for you.
People try to ban books because they don’t want you to read those books. If you don’t read books to begin with, you are doing their work for them.
It can be tempting to think of the banning of books as something that happened in the past, only by extremely conservative types, or in authoritarian regimes. Sadly, book banning is alive and well here and now. Sure, it is not shocking that anti-democratic governments in places like China, Russia, Iran, Hungary or Venezuela strictly control the flow of information and literature. Yet in our society, where we make claims on being champions of democracy and freedom, book banning is on the rise.
Kara Yorio writes in School Library Journal: “It has been a busy Banned Books Week, as the stepped-up challenges to books and their authors continue, with books by kid lit creators Jerry Craft and Kelly Yang added to the list of titles some parents claim are objectionable.” Read the rest of this article.
Meanwhile “Ruby Bridges Goes to School” has been targeted by book banners as well. Author Ruby Bridges recounts the true story of her experiences as a 6 year old girl who became the first black student to attend a formerly whites only public school. An organized group of parents wanted their local school board to ban this book, “for supposedly “explicit and implicit anti-American, anti-white” bias (source).” Read more in this Miami Herald article.
Here are four of the most challenged books from the last year, all available in our school library:
- George by Alex Gino. Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.”
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. Banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.
- All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism and because it was thought to promote antipolice views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint, it was claimed to be biased against male students, and it included rape and profanity.
Celebrate Libraries in October
October is a big month for libraries.
October is International School Library Month.
October is Canadian Library Month.
October 15 is Canadian Library Workers’ Day
October 22 is the BCTLA Conference
October 25 is BC School Library Day and Canada School Library Day
October 25 is Drop Everything and Read
Check back here for more info, and visit us in person, as we party all month in the School Library.
As October draws to a close, so does International School Library Month and Canadian Library Month. We hope you learned something about the vital role that libraries play in our country, and that school libraries play in education around the globe. Most importantly, we hope you were able to celebrate the wonderful gift of libraries by visiting some, including your local public library, and especially, your school library.
Come down to see us in person, or visit online– even though October is ending, you can make use of your school library all year long.
Canadians go to the polls today to to elect our federal government. Voting is just one aspect of the democratic system, but it is a vital one. Canadians must cherish the right to vote, and must accept the serious responsibility to vote. It is the responsibility of each citizen in a democracy to get informed, think critically, and exercise the right to vote.
Our students are too young to vote now, but they will be eligible for the elections of the near future. And yet even without voting, our students are participants in the democratic system. High school is important for many different reasons. None is more important that preparing our kids to take on the responsibilities of democratic citizenship. We want our kids to be Canadians that exercise, celebrate, and protect their rights as citizens in a democracy.
Libraries, including Public Libraries and School Libraries, can play a vital part in the equipping of our students for democratic citizenship. Canadians must have access to reliable sources of information. Just as importantly, Canadians must be information literate. They must have the tools to be able to recognize unreliable sources, including disinformation, fake news, propaganda, etc. They must be able to have confidence in recognizing and using reliable information to think critically and to make educated decisions about the issues facing our country, our cities, our neighbourhoods, and our world.
October is International School Library Month
and Canadian Library Month.
From the American Libarary Association:
Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
It is Freedom to Read Week in Canada. We take time this week to celebrate some of our fundamental rights and freedoms, including the freedom to read whatever we choose to read. As citizens of a liberal democracy, we require access to information and ideas, free from state interference or censorship. Take some time this week to reflect on your Freedom to Read.
Find out more:
While it is impossible to give a firm answer to the question, it is clear that for every website that is free and accessible through search engines such as Google, there are thousands of other places on the internet that are not. Many valuable sources of information are hidden behind various layers of walls, including paywalls. While the estimates can vary widely, one study suggested as little as .03% of the internet was searchable with Google, while there are claims that only 1/25000th (.004%) of the internet had been indexed by the search engine (source). Whatever the number, we can set aside the myth that all anyone needs is a a computer and Google and the whole world of information is at your fingertips.
Good news: As a student (or staff member) in SD36 you can have access to many online databases and other district sponsored resources that other people have to pay for. If you are using a computer or other device within the district, you can use these without passwords. If you are at home, you will need usernames and passwords. Your teacher librarian can give you these.