Update: HB 516

A few weeks ago I shared my thoughts on Virginia HB 516, which would require schools to label works as sexually explicit and inform parents if a title is on a child’s required reading list. In my discussion of the bill, I mentioned the slippery slope labeling entails, citing the opposition of the Virginia Library Association, although the Virginia Association of Teachers of English later issued a similar statement. With exactly a week to go before Governor McAuliffe would have been forced to make a decision on whether to veto or sign the bill into law, the Governor has vetoed the bill. Continue reading

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Virginia’s HB 516 and a slippery slope

Every year libraries across the country celebrate Banned Books Week, a chance for us to remember the dangers inherent in limiting a person’s ability to consume information due to a single person’s objection. But like all specially named weeks and months that benefit good causes – Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October and American Heart Month in February, to name two – it becomes easy to only focus on those issues during that timeframe. But intellectual freedom is threatened all year round, including this year in Virginia. VASeal

In early March, HB 516 passed both the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the bill “would allow parents to opt out of reading assignments deemed ‘sexually explicit’ by the Virginia Board of Education.” Why is this a problem? Continue reading

POTUS in our corner: eBooks and the next LoC

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President Obama signs a bill into law that supports the role of libraries in education last year. From District Dispatch. President Obama has generally been supportive of libraries.

Since politics is in the news today (hello Super Tuesday!), I wanted to balance the generally negative political news with two announcements that came out last week from the White House. Continue reading

Librarian Activists

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There are many skills library school can give you, but often, an understanding of the role of librarian activists isn’t one of them. While I took two classes on ethics and government policy in relation to librarianship, I didn’t come away from those classes with a practical idea of how librarians can advocate for themselves. Perhaps it is because librarians shy away from having an opinion on anything in an effort to remain unbiased. But libraries are constantly struggling to get a piece of the funding pie, and we need library advocates to do that. Who better to relate the awesomeness of libraries to politicians than the librarians themselves?

A recent post on whether librarians should be activists from Hack Library School got me thinking about this topic again. The author of the blog defines activism as:

“Activism is anything you do that supports a cause and encourages change.”

The post goes on to say that grand actions can be amazing and turn heads, but the little everyday things also make a difference in garnering support for libraries, as well as encouraging change in the way the public views and supports libraries.

I think, however, that librarians have a tendency to do small things and hope people notice. The small actions are important, but they need to be supplemented by more to ensure libraries remain to help people in the future.

Continue reading