Missouri’s Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act versus the Library Bill of Rights

The Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act being brought forward by Representative Ben Baker falls foul of most of the rights laid out in the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights

Particularly:

Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves.

Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

…resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

and

A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

The Library Bill of Rights is laid out below:

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

The full Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act can be accessed here.

The personal or religious beliefs of a small group of individuals should have no place in dictating what can be accessed or done by a community as a whole. This move by Representative Baker further blurs the separation of church and state.

In a news post he is quoted as saying: The main thing is I want to be able to take my kids to a library and make sure they’re in a safe environment, and that they’re not gonna be exposed to something that is objectionable materialUnfortunately, there are some libraries in the state of Missouri that have done this. And that’s a problem.

Access to information does not make a person unsafe, limiting their access to accurate information does that!

Views on what constitutes appropriate materials may vary widely from library to library.

If parents are concerned what their children are reading (and many are) then they should be active participants in their lives and be willing to have discussions on puberty, sex & sexuality and more. If young people are unable to have those types of discussions with their parents or guardians then they will go looking to find the information on their own and their library will be one of the safer and more accurate places for them to find information.

If parents and care-givers would rather legislate that option away from children in their care then they will go looking for information in places where accurate and truthful information may not be available.

The Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act will force library staff to act in loco parentis, as gatekeepers (a role that we have been trying to get rid of for years), young readers going through puberty, questioning their sexuality, trying to find information for class assignments or those that are just curious will be unable to access the information they require if the group overseeing the library collection takes a narrow view on what is appropriate for young readers.

If this act is passed then Libraries that fall foul of it will lose access to federal funds and Library staff that provide access to proscribed materials will face a fine or jail time.

You can find out more information about this developing story and how to make your views heard at Bookriot, EveryLibrary, PEN and The Guardian.

Visit this page for a list of interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/interpretations

Nothing Ever Happens Here

“This is Littlehaven. Nothing ever happens here. Until the spotlight hits my family.” Izzy’s family is under the spotlight when her dad comes out as Danielle, a trans woman. Izzy is terrified her family will be torn apart. Will she lose her dad? Will her parents break up? And what will people at school say? Izzy’s always been shy, but now all eyes are on her. Can she face her fears, find her voice and stand up for what’s right?

Usborne
Nothing Ever Happens Here by Sarah Hagger-Holt

Nothing Ever Happens Here is just brilliant. It tells Izzy’s story with great humour, not sugar-coating reactions from family and others, but sensitively portraying how things change and how Izzy feels about it. Perfectly pitched for a middle grade audience (but definitely also readable by teens and adults alike), it will broaden minds and inspire really positive conversations around empathy and the way the media currently often (mainly) poorly portray trans people. I highly recommend you get this book for your schools, your children, and yourselves!

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to ask Sarah a few questions:

You’ve previously written non-fiction for adults, when you initially had the idea of writing fiction did you always intend for it to be for children or did the story evolve that way?

I’m not totally sure! I don’t think I set out to write fiction at all – I simply had an idea for a story which wouldn’t go away, so I started writing something to see what would happen next… 45,000 words later and I had the draft of a children’s novel! I love reading children’s fiction. I have enjoyed so many excellent new children’s books recently – thanks to my daughters’ recommendations – as well as discovering my old favourites to share with them. It’s a real honour and excitement for me to know that Nothing Ever Happens Here will be alongside some of my favourite titles and, I hope, will be read and enjoyed by children (and maybe a few parents too).

What prompted you to write from the perspective of a child of a trans parent?

The most recent non-fiction book I co-wrote was a parenting guide for LGBT parents, informed by interviews with around 70 families – all of whom had fascinating stories to tell and experiences to share. A couple of those stories stuck with me, stories of families where a parent had transitioned while their children were at school. I started wondering about what experience would have been really like, from the child’s perspective as well as the parent’s, and that’s how Nothing Ever Happens Here began. I’m cis (not trans), but I am part of the LGBT community, and I’m very aware how few children’s books reflect families like ours. I hope that Nothing Ever Happens Here is not a one-off and we will start to see more LGBT families appearing in all kinds of children’s books.

Was it difficult to write? Which characters came to you most easily?

Looking back, it was a joy to write (but maybe that’s just hindsight!). Finding time to write was difficult, but the actual writing came quite easily. I think this was because I let the characters and dialogue develop in my head while I was doing other things – swimming, commuting to work, hanging up the washing – so that by the time I got my laptop out to write, everything was all ready to go. The first character to come was Izzy, but I really enjoyed getting to know the other characters too and I’m fond of them all. Perhaps Megan – Izzy’s older sister – and Grace – her extrovert best friend – were the most fun to write as they both have such strong personalities.

Did you involve sensitivity readers early on in the writing process or ask for input when the book was closer to being finished?

Both. The story itself was informed and inspired by in-depth interviews with families with a trans parent, so their experiences were at the heart of the book from before I wrote a single word. This means that some scenes have direct parallels in real-life, and that their voices influenced the whole tone of Nothing Ever Happens Here. Two of those parents read a first draft of the book and gave comments before I even submitted the manuscript to agents. Then I was fortunate enough to have two incredible sensitivity readers – Christine Burns and Jay Hulme – who advised on the manuscript as it was nearer to its final stage.

Have you had feedback from young readers?

My daughter, who is 11, was one of the first readers of Nothing Ever Happens Here – she gave me her unvarnished feedback and has now become a great champion of the book among her friends. It’s early days, but I’m starting to get feedback from pre-teen readers – my favourite feedback so far is from a 12-year-old reader who said “This book was so good and you know it’s a good book when you tell your mum that you can’t wait to go to bed so I could continue reading.”

Have you done any author events? What would you most like to do to promote the book?

The book is only just out, but I’m really looking forward to getting into schools or youth groups to promote the book, to encourage young people in their writing and to talk about some of the issues raised by Nothing Ever Happens Here. I did lots of events and workshops around my non-fiction books (both of which also had LGBT themes) but only with adults – so presenting to a younger audience will be a new adventure.

What are you reading at the moment and who would you recommend it to?

I have just started ‘Amy and Isabelle’ by Elizabeth Strout, after being recommended her books by a friend who always has good reading tips. It’s the first novel I’ve read by her and I’m totally hooked already. I’d recommend it to fans of Anne Tyler or Kent Haruf, it’s a similar, character-led approach which draws you into the lives and emotions of ‘ordinary’ people in a powerful but gentle way.

Are you planning another book for children?

Yes. Well, it’s beyond the planning stage now, as my second novel is coming out with Usborne in 2021. I won’t say too much, apart from that it also involves an LGBT family, like Nothing Ever Happens Here. However I have lots more stories I want to tell that touch on the issues which I care about, so hopefully there will be many more books to come.

Sarah Hagger-Holt

Sarah Hagger-Holt lives with her partner and two daughters in Hertfordshire and is the Community Campaigns Manager for the LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall. She is the author of two adult non-fiction LGBTQ+ parenting books and has written for the i paper, the Huffington Post, and spoken on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour about LGBTQ+ parenting.

Huge thanks to Usborne for sending me a review copy of the book, and to Sarah for answering my questions!

Representative Ben Baker is “Thinking of the Children” with the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act

I read a blog post last night (https://rturner229.blogspot.com/2020/01/ben-baker-files-parental-oversight-of.html)

It details the machinations of Ben Baker the GOP Representative for Newton County in the Missouri House of Representatives who is trying to get public libraries to age restrict materials that could be considered objectionable.

From the above-mentioned post:

Baker filed the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act to keep impressionable young people from getting their hands on material that deals with sex or anything else that might be considered inappropriate by parents (or Baker).

No public library shall receive any state aid under this section if such library 53 allows minors to access age-inappropriate sexual materials in violation of section 182.821. HB 2044 3 182.821. 

As Library Workers, our job is to bring people and resources together. I can understand School Libraries being more prescriptive in their collection development; but to require Public Libraries to limit access to materials based on the age of readers is not only offensive but also dangerous. It places the decision on what is considered appropriate in the hands of a small group of people (& Representative Baker) who could, quite conceivably have a limited view on what “appropriate” is for readers of different ages.

The threat of losing funding is blatant strong-arming and needs condemnation in the strongest possible terms!

Libraries have made a concerted effort to move away from being gatekeepers and the story of Goodnight Moon at the New York Public Library is a great example of how a book can be kept out of the hands of readers: https://slate.com/culture/2020/01/goodnight-moon-nypl-10-most-checked-out-books.html

Sidelining the views of the majority of parents who will not be involved in the decision-making process sets a dangerous precedent, writing something into law that is best left up to families to decide is sheer overreach – I thought that Republicans were usually the part of small government and limited interference.

Resources for International Holocaust Memorial Day

International Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on the 27th January, this date is the anniversary of the liberation of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. This year (2020) marks 75 years since this happened. It is also the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia.

If you want to set up a display or run events to mark this date you still have time to put something together. Below is a list of links to resources you can download and use in your library:

https://www.hmd.org.uk/resources/ – the official site of Holocaust Memorial Day UK, you are able to download packs, you can also request physical packs if you are in the UK.

https://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Learning The Wiener Holocaust Library is one of the world’s leading and most extensive archives on the Holocaust and Nazi era.

https://www.yadvashem.org/education.html Yad Vashem is the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, is the ultimate source for Holocaust education, documentation and research.

https://www.ushmm.org/ The US Holocaust Memorial Museum

https://www.annefrank.org/en/education/ Anne Frank House is an independent non-profit organisation that runs a museum in the house where Anne Frank went into hiding.

https://www.facinghistory.org/topics/genocide-mass-violence Facing History helps students connect choices made in the past to those they will confront in their own lives

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-holocaust This Holocaust site produced under the auspices of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise offers all the tools necessary to provoke students and teachers alike to undertake a meaningful investigation of the Holocaust.

http://auschwitz.org/en/ the website of the memorial and museum at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The Diverse Book Awards calls for entries from UK-based authors & publishers

Authors and publishers are invited to enter a new book prize, open to fiction books that are traditionally published, self-published and everything in between; from January 13th to May 31st 2020.

The Diverse Book Awards is sponsored by Hashtag BLAK (a new imprint of indie publishing house Hashtag Press focused on diversity and inclusion) and Literally PR (award-winning literary PR and marketing agency).

  • The long-list will be announced in June 2020 (books will be called in at this time for judges to review).
  • The short-list will be announced in September 2020.
  • The winner from each category (YA, Adult & Children’s Fiction) will be announced at a Hashtag BLAK party in London in October 2020.

Abiola Bello, co-director of Hashtag Press and Hashtag BLAK, says: So much more can be done to raise levels of diversity and inclusion in publishing, but The Diverse Book Awards seeks to recognise and celebrate the amazing work that was done in 2019 by authors and publishers. In turn, hopefully more diverse and inclusive books will be published in the coming years.

Authors and publishers can submit any children’s, young adult or adult fiction book published in 2019 that features BAME and/or inclusive main characters.

Each of the three category winners will be awarded a trophy, certificate and a PR campaign organised by boutique agency Literally PR.

Hashtag BLAK is currently only for submissions (www.hashtagblak.co.uk / info@hashtagblak.co.uk) seeking adult and YA fiction from Black British writers. The aim is to publish the first book by the end of 2020, the second in 2021, and then submissions will be open to all under-represented voices. Hashtag BLAK is open to unsolicited / unagented manuscripts.

For complete details on how to enter please visit: https://www.thediversebookawards.co.uk/

Teen Librarian Newsletter January 2020

The January issue of the Teen Librarian Newsletter is now available via Mailchimp:

https://us20.campaign-archive.com/?u=32ffbca7d353f6dcc0c7c0953&id=930dd230ad

Jane Eyre

Carnegie Medal-winning author Tanya Landman returns with a brilliantly realised and truly accessible retelling of one of the greatest novels ever written.

Orphaned as a child, tormented by her guardian and cast out to a harsh boarding school, Jane Eyre has been raised in the shadow of cruelty and isolation. But when she takes a job as governess in Thornfield Hall, where secrets lurk in the attic and strange laughter echoes through the night, Jane meets the elusive Mr Rochester – and her life is irrevocably transformed.

Poignantly and powerfully retold in this stunning edition, Jane Eyre is the tale of a spirited heroine’s search for love, independence and belonging – and this edition perfect as a way in to the original for set text study!

Barrington Stoke
Jane Eyre

I read the original Jane Eyre approximately 20 years ago (it was first published quite some time before that in 1848) and enjoyed it, but not enough to ever watch an adaptation or re-read it. This retelling however, made me sorely tempted to go back and revisit it! As with all Barrington Stoke books, not a word on the page is wasted and, even in such a short novella, we can see into Jane’s thoughts as clearly as Brontë intended.

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to ask Tanya Landman a few questions

You’ve previously written original novellas for Barrington Stoke, how did this project come about?

After writing One Shot (a YA book inspired by the legendary sharpshooter Annie Oakley) Barrington Stoke asked if I might consider doing a modern twist on a classic. Were there any novels I liked that might inspire a spin off? Jane Eyre immediately came to mind. I said I’d have a think about it but the more I thought the more I realised that I didn’t see the point of doing a modern twist for readers who probably weren’t familiar with the original. So I suggested a straight re-telling instead.

Did you love the original story when you first read it?

I actually can’t remember the first time I read Jane Eyre but it’s a book I’ve gone back to time and time again. It is such a good story.  Cruelty, death, disaster, romance, horror – Jane Eyre has got it all. And I just love Jane – her righteous fury and magnificent strength of character – she’s always felt like a close, personal friend. She’s not some vapid princess who needs rescuing – she’s quite capable of doing that herself, thank you very much.  It’s a very empowering message for readers.

Your historical stories are clearly very well researched, did you look into the background to Jane Eyre or mainly focus on the original text?

I just focussed on the original text. I’d set myself a monumental task distilling Jane Eyre from 185,000 words to 18,000 whilst retaining its essential spirit and character. I really wasn’t sure it if was going to be possible, but when I started to write Jane’s voice just seemed to flow straight from her mouth and on to the page – it was quite possibly the most enjoyable and satisfying thing I’ve ever written.

What would you choose if you had an opportunity to retell another classic?

I’ve actually done the first draft of a version of Wuthering Heights for Barrington Stoke which I also loved writing. And I’m kicking around a few more ideas with my editor right now…

What kind of events do you prefer doing with teens?

I used to work in theatre so I really enjoy doing talks to teen audiences. Their questions always really make me think.

Have you been asked to write about any more real historical figures? Anyone you would really like to write about?

Every time I research for a new book I come across more people I’d like to write about! I have a massively long list of possibilities but very near the top is a woman called Stagecoach Mary. If you look at her photo you can just see there’s a story there waiting to be told.

Stagecoach Mary

What are you reading at the moment and who would you recommend it to?

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo – I’d recommend it to EVERYONE.

What’s next in the pipeline?

I’ve got a couple of projects on the go at the moment – a middle-grade book for Walker which should be out next year, and another teen read for Barrington Stoke.  And there are various other ideas knocking around at the back of my head…

Thank you so much Tanya, I’m very excited by the prospect of a Wuthering Heights retelling, and Stagecoach Mary should definitely feature in a story soon!

Tanya Landman

Tanya Landman’s retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is published by Barrington Stoke on 15th January 2020

(Thankyou Barrington Stoke for sending me a proof copy)

Wand Making Workshop

Ahead of Harry Potter Book Night on the 6th February 2020 I have been working on a special wand-making workshop that will enable participants to create their own wands.

The outer part of the wand is composed of a 10 inch (25.4 cm) stiff paper tube. I sourced the paper tubes from Target. Bamboo sticks or hollow wooden dowel rods can also be used if your budget stretches that far.

The wand end plugs are made from paper twisted into a cone that will fit into the ends of the wand and be glued in place.

Participants will be able to choose a phoenix feather, a strand of dragon heart-string, unicorn hair, woven sunlight or a combination of all of them to make up the core of their wand.

Once the wand-making apprentices have completed their wand they will receive a parchment certificate confirming that they have attended the workshop.

They will also receive a cardstock wand-holder emblazoned with the seals of the Hogwarts & Ilvermorny Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry to keep their wands safe. There is a space on the back of the wand holder to note down what is in the core as well as who made the wand.

The materials used in the workshop are:

Red, Silver & Gold Thread
Feathers
Paper tubes

The certificate is plain paper that has been soaked in a weak coffee solution (tea also works)

The wand holder is card-stock also soaked in a weak coffee solution.

The certificate is available to be downloaded in US letter size below:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

and A4:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

The wand holder is available to be downloaded in US letter size here:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

and as A4:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

For those wishing to make a more traditional looking wand using chopsticks and hot glue, there are instructions available here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Wands-With-Chopsticks/

Note: This post was scheduled to go up on the day the controversy broke around J.K. Rowling tweeting her views about transgender rights. I have decided to run this article, not in support of the author whose views I find reprehensible but for those who read Harry Potter and take away the message about love, acceptance and for standing up & fighting for what is right.

The Night Before Christmas: Steel Frame by Andrew Skinner

Twas the night before Christsmas and all round the Eye

Dark forces were stirring and jockeys did die!

The mecha were cradled in their hangers with care

Not knowing that bad things would soon happen there!

Rook was a jockey also a con,

indentured by NorCol her old life was now gone!

In a near hanger there arose quite a clatter

A Juno mech was trying its confinement to shatter!

Rook and the Juno a match made in hell

Really quite lucky as time would soon tell!

The hollows were moving – dead pilots in shells

Rather like zombies, they fought and killed well!

Their infection was spreading, corporations did fall

Soon Rook’s back was pressed ‘gainst the wall

A last ditch defence against to stem the dire flood

A few plucky heroes and gallons of blood

Needed to stop dire evil’s spread

Would they survive or all end up dead?

I will not tell you, but this tome you must read:

Steel Frame by Skinner a great book indeed!

Steel Frame is written by Andrew Skinner and published by Rebellion Publishing, it is available now

Spin the d-read-l Interactive Display

You can mix parts of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas/Yule into a single interactive display enabling library users to choose a book that they may not previously have considered prior to participating in the interactive part of the display.

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Using the Kwanzaa mkeka mat as the base upon which to spin the dreidel (or in this case the d-read-l) the library patron will then take the book that matches the symbol on the side of the dreidel that is facing up.

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You can also match one of the four letters to different genres instead of specific books as shown below.

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Once the patron has taken a book or respun the dreidel if they wanted to try something else, they can also take a Yule Reading Log to keep track of the books they will read over the holiday season.

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The dreidel can be downloaded here:

US Paper size:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

UK paper size dreidel:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

To create a mkeka mat you need strips of paper or cardstock in green, black and red. These are woven together as shown below.

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The Yule Reading Log can be downloaded here:

US paper size:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

UK paper size:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

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