By Raven Meadowbrook
It is said that one of the reasons human civilization has progressed so rapidly is because of development of the written word. Documents could then be easily passed over long distances and through the generations. In today’s rapidly exploding information technology, the changes in our civilization are spiraling upward exponentially.
The idea of banning books puts a lid on the information in those books. How do you suppose it can be determined by one entity that someone else’s information should be put in the dark? Who would be the entity? Parents of children? Schools? The government? Librarians?
We face this dilemma not just with books, but with other types of media such as the internet where battle lines are being drawn with social media giants, with religious entities, and political entities.
Should parents shield their children from damaging input from any source? I think we can all agree that yes, it is part of being a parent.
But should we create an artificial world for the children where they think everyone is blank. Plug in the blank with any word: white, black, Christian, Muslim, heterosexual, racist, Democrat or Republican?
I think we can agree that a realistic world is a more honest approach. That is why we take children to museums, to travel on vacation, to school trips, to summer camp. There they can see and experience a little more of this big world.
Here is another point that I think we can all agree on. There are age-appropriate books that we entrust our teachers and librarians to select for their libraries.
In a public library that serves everyone of all ages equally, there must be books and media for all ages. People who are old enough to have a library card are allowed to choose their own materials. It is fair to say that input and book requests are considered by librarians in every library. Making wise choices is a skill learned from parents and it is practiced buy our children every day.
Giving so much attention to banned books fosters that curiosity about, “what could possibly be in there?” The Library of VA celebrates Banned Books Week in October 2023 with readings from the most challenged books of the year. Banned books are becoming a celebrated thing. So maybe its wisest just to be a good parent or a good librarian and pick our battles elsewhere.
Many previously banned books like George Orwell’s “1984” turn out to be required reading in some schools. You have heard the saying that “one mans trash is another man’s treasure.” That might apply to banned books!
Through reading we can experience infinite parts of the world we live in. With books, there are stories, based on truth or fantasy. Reading gives one a unique viewpoint to consider in these stories. A simple book like” A Walk across America” had a profound impact on my life. Books can validate views, open new worlds, and teach life lessons.
With social media we have a much, much bigger problem, for this is where young minds can really be indoctrinated for good or for bad. Because it is not obvious to loved ones when some folks are “on their phones all the time”, it is an insidious threat. The written word that appeals to some is enhanced with visual images and verbal information that is unfiltered. Wise choices ya’ll. You have heard the saying: Garbage in- garbage out? Choose wisely what information goes into the brain and wisdom will follow. Personal choice is a freedom that most of us would rather not give up.
What do you think about book bans? Should others regulate what librarians can put on the shelf? What do you think about books in public libraries vs books in a school library? Should a library board of trustees oversee the book and media collection in a public library or is a trained librarian a better choice?
The Craig Library’s motto is “Empowering Individuals to build a stronger community. “ CCPL empowers you to make wise choices and to use your knowledge for the good of all.
There are over 300 DVDs available in the library to purchase for just a couple of dollars each. Come get a bag full for these wet spring nights!
Sign up for the Route 42 trash pickup with the library on March 25. Keep Craig Beautiful!