Public Comment at Barrington D220 Board of Education Meeting.Good evening, everyone.I’m a 220 parent. I am here to discuss a recent experience my son had at the High School Library.Surrounding the recent controversial topic of library materials with explicit sexual content, my son wanted to further his understanding of the issue and requested two books through the school library website. They are
Irreversible Damage (by: Dr. Abigail Shrier) and
Cynical Theories (by: Helen Pluckrose, & James Lindsay)
Both books are highly regarded by multiple sources, including the Economist, Times, WSJ, Financial Times, and Sunday Times.These books arrived at the school library on an inter-library loan. When my son went to pick them up, a student volunteer helped him. They scanned his ID to access his library account, and a warning message immediately popped up.And here’s the message: [QUOTE BEGINS]“Requested two books one that is anti-trans the other got no official reviews but the unofficial reviews I found deemed this slow, plodding, and too academic. They also found fault with the premise that scholarships by race ruined everything.I did not purchase. Will try to have a personal conversation with student.If you see him and I’m here, can you covertly get me?”[QUOTE ENDS]My son read this warning message with the student volunteer standing next to him. My son said of this experience, “I was flabbergasted and didn’t know what to do.” He left the library that day, without any books, feeling embarrassed and confused. On a later date, he returned to the library and asked for help from a staff member who was kind enough to check out these books for him without having to involve the librarian that asked for a “personal conversation”. However, my son later told me that he “was on pins and needles the entire time.”My questions are:
What was the purpose of this warning message – was it to deter the student’s access to these books? Or was it to book shame the student?
Why is a “personal conversation” called for based on the librarian’s opinion towards these books?
Are books like Gender Queer also flagged due to content?
Is this a double standard in application of the Library Collection Policy, Selection Criteria, which purports to “Represent(s) opposing points of view on controversial issues, encouraging individual analysis”?
I’ll close with a quote (of the policy) used by the High School librarian and Assistant Principal when they re-evaluated the book – Gender Queer in June of this year (2022):“It is the responsibility of the library media center to provide a wide range of materials on all levels of difficulty, with diversity of appeal and the presentation of different points of view. Materials are selected to reflect cultures, beliefs, and viewpoints of our diverse community.”Thank you for your time. I encourage all to check out these two books.