From National Public Radio:
For months, Carolyn Harrison and a small band of activists have been setting up folding tables with an array of what they call “bad books” outside the public library in Idaho Falls, Idaho. As Harrison, co-founder of the group Parents Against Bad Books sees it, the best way to convince people that the library is stocking inappropriate books is to show them.
“These two books are in the library, if you don’t believe it!” Harrison says to one passerby.
“It’s very graphic, very detailed,” offers Halli Stone, another member of the group.
They point out depictions of what they call obscene sexual encounters, catching many library patrons by surprise.
“Oooh, the graphic pictures!” exclaims one woman. “They’re taking away children’s innocence. They just don’t care.”
. . . .
It’s one of many efforts around the U.S. to change how decisions are made about which books libraries should have on shelves and in which section of the library they belong.
The process of classifying books can be somewhat inconsistent. Books usually get an initial designation from authors and publishers. Then, professional book reviewers usually weigh in with their own age-bracket recommendation, and distributors and booksellers can do the same. But ultimately, local library staff make the final call about the books they buy and where they should go.
Harrison wants to change that process by giving parents a voice in that final decision, along with the library staff. But she says libraries are resistant to the idea.
“They’ve told us here that ‘Oh no, you can’t have parents involved. You must have experts choosing books for the children,'” Harrison says. “That makes no sense. Parents are the primary stakeholders for children.”
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PABB also keeps a list of what they call “52 Bad Books.” It includes George M. Johnson’s memoir, All Boys Aren’t Blue, which contains some explicit descriptions of sexual scenes. But as is the case with most books in question, one person’s trash is another’s treasure.
“I found it very enlightening,” says Idaho Falls Public Library Director Robert Wright. As he sees it, All Boys Aren’t Blue is critical to young people’s development, especially those struggling with issues around sexual identity. “To me, it was a story of a young boy who felt maybe different, but the story that came through to me was how much his family supported him and loved him regardless,” Wright says.
Link to the rest at National Public Radio