Advancing IDEAs: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, 2022 July 12

The following  post is one in a regular series on issues of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility, compiled by Jay Weitz.

Abortion in YA literature

In “The Rights of All Women,” Maggie Reagan brings together a timely group of young adult nonfiction and fiction books concerning abortion. “Most of the girls having abortions in YA are white and upper-class,” Reagan notes, “and though reproductive rights are talked about as something that effects all women, the nuances haven’t yet been deeply explored.”

Art Spiegelman and libraries

Since it was published in 1991, the Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel Maus, by Art Spiegelman, has been banned or challenged numerous times. He sat for an interview with American Libraries, “Newsmaker: Art Spiegelman,” discussing book bans, the use of comics in the classroom, and his own reverence for libraries. “I read a lot and found things at random by pulling books off shelves, taking them home, seeing which ones worked for me,” he recalls. “It was just a matter of reading without any filter.”

“Standing Up for Intellectual Freedom”

Andy Gooding-Call, a librarian at the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (OCLC Symbol: MRQ) in North Andover, Massachusetts, USA, recommends six American Library Association publications to help institutions deal with various challenges to intellectual freedom. In “Standing Up for Intellectual Freedom,” Gooding-Call cites resources about banned materials, displays and meetings rooms, and training library staff to weather the legal storms.

Expungement clinics

Under the auspices of WebJunction, Worcester County Library (OCLC Symbol: RT9) in Snow Hill, Maryland, USA, offers “How to Run an Expungement Clinic at Your Library” along with related resources. Expungement, “the process by which a record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed from state or federal record,” helps to clear away legal impediments to employment by connecting users with pro bono lawyers who can assist in the process.

Drag Queen Story Hour disrupted

In a June 11, 2022, incident that “totally freaked out all of the kids” according to San Francisco area drag performer Panda Dulce, a Drag Queen Story Hour at the San Lorenzo location of the Alameda County Library (OCLC Symbol: JQA) in California was disrupted by a group of men alleged to be members of the Proud Boys. The sheriff’s office described them as “extremely aggressive with a threatening violent demeanor causing people to fear for their safety,” as reported by SFGATE in “Hate crime investigation underway after alleged Proud Boys storm Drag Queen Story Hour at Bay Area library.”

“Hide the Pride”

Photo by Henry Be on Unsplash

CatholicVote, a self-described “grassroots lobbying organization with a connected political action committee,” which is “not funded or administered by the Catholic Bishops,” launched its “Hide the Pride” campaign during Pride Month, June 2022. The campaign is “a parent-led movement to empty local taxpayer-funded libraries of progressive sex- and gender-related content aimed at children.” Amanda Girard, a Collections, Access, and Facilities Information Specialist at Southern New Hampshire University (OCLC Symbol: HC7), writes about the initiative to “reclaim your public library” on the ALA Intellectual Freedom Blog, “‘Hide the Pride’ Campaign Targets Library Pride Month Displays.” The idea is to check out Pride display books and keep them at home until the displays and books are removed from the collection. “This is framed under the guise of protecting children’s innocence,” writes Girard, “suggesting that anyone other than adults having access to materials on sexuality, gender identity, and other related topics, does harm to the community.”

Intellectual Freedom Syllabus

The American Library Association Intellectual Freedom Round Table has announced the completion of the project created by the Emerging Leaders Program, “Intellectual Freedom Syllabus.” It consists of “a curated collection of resources that can be used in the creation of an intellectual freedom curriculum geared towards LIS education.” The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution serve as the foundation of this core value of information organizations. There are currently eight units (including access, censorship, collection development, digital literacy, meeting rooms, school libraries, special libraries, and social justice) upon which the syllabus will continue to build.