Saturday, October 3, 2009

In Praise of School Librarians

Link to September 30 Cleveland Plain Dealer column by Connie Schultz, "School librarians won't let censors throw the book at them".

Excerpt: "They're definitely emboldened by what happened with [Barack] Obama's speech," she said, referring to the president's televised address to students earlier this month. His speech was banned in many classrooms across the country after school districts buckled like brittle knees to conservatives who objected even before knowing its content.

Obama's speech was later widely praised as positive and inspiring, even by many conservative leaders. But the damage was done, Hopkins said.

"These are scary times for librarians and teachers. All it takes now is for one parent to object. If we let them win, they're just going to keep doing it."

Not in Karin Perry's patch of America, they aren't.

Mrs. Perry couldn't speak to me without permission from her superintendent, who never returned my call. Not to worry. Sometimes it's true that actions speak louder than words. Let me tell you what she did.

Mrs. Perry asked Hopkins if she would still come. The answer was yes. Then she asked Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College -- love the name -- if she could move Hopkins' talk to their campus. The college said yes.

About 150 students, parents, teachers and librarians attended last week's speech. So far, there are no reports of fainting or even frantic fanning of faces. But as we all know, it only takes one person to declare otherwise before you're smack dab in the middle of a dust storm over the First Amendment.

If that wind kicks up dirt on your corner, may there be a Karin Perry at a library near you.

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