from the Director's Desk

Musings about school library media and instructional technology programs from NCDPI's Instructional Technology Divison.  Subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lucky? Maybe . . .

One of the saddest censorship stories that I can remember in many years is playing out on the national stage right now. Susan Patron's Newbury Award book for upper elementary school children, The Higher Power of Lucky, is being written about, removed from shelves, or not even ordered because of one very proper, anatomically correct word. The august New York Times added fuel to the fire on Sunday with a front-page article by Julie Bosman "With One Word Children's Book Sets Off Uproar.

Yes, it's a most unfortunate censorship case, but my colleague Acacia Dixon pointed out yesterday that it is a fine example of the new world many of us media and technology professionals are facing. She says it quite well:

"Many of the quotes lifted for the Times article come from postings to listservs or other communication venues like LM-NET. For years we have said that email is a postcard not an envelope, especially when items are archived online for the whole world to peruse. There is some interesting indignation that this information was used against librarians as a whole. I agree it was taken out of context and that the flip side of the conversation was not covered. This does however play right into the hands of stringent policy makers (think PA) who wish to limit professional expression via social networking avenues."

Very insightful, Acacia! Yes, how do we align school policy with our professional right to free speech--and even philosophical conversation? What are your thoughts on handling this difficult issue?


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