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Special Interest Group Archive: Library Instruction 4/21/2022

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.


The information literacy instruction SIG met on 4/27. Lara Sibley of Marist college was the facilitator. 


Collections/Materials Challenges - what are you facing?  Do you have structures in place to address challenges?  What challenges have you heard about? 

Discussion of an elementary school challenge - I need a new butt - principal fired for reading it. petitions for Wappingers School district . 

Challenged book “Gender Queer: A Memoir”  - driven by political groups “Moms for Liberty” - Charlotte’s Web banned because animals talked in it

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble - banned because police officers drawn as pigs

Thinking about collections - where is everyone at regarding thinking about challenges? 

I’m a worrier - but it’s not something I think about too much.  Worry less about people coming in to challenge books - personally I have not had any challenges or angry patrons.  As librarians we try to provide so much information in the best way possible. 

I’m aware that there could be a challenge here - Fun Home was challenged, students and parents were angry that it was required reading.  Book was assigned and folks were upset, some were displeased.  It’s always in the back of my mind that there’s content in the collection people would get upset about - but more concerned about parents than students.  A display is up for our common read - often selected because they unite in discussion but challenge old ideas.  

What do we feel that we need to support these challenges? 

Need patience, maybe even opportunities to practice responding.  

I have two kids in middle school in the fall and it’s hard to be calm with other parents.  

Does your library have a section on the collection development guidelines for challenges? 

There’s a working draft of the collection policy at our academic institution, the section they sent didn’t have anything. 

A section talks about the collection not being driven by popular reading. 

There is some confusion in academic libraries - outside of the library staff - about the difference between  the bookstore and the library - why is this so confusing?

Discussion about our love for the Newburgh Mall Library Branch. 

Can we ask “Have you read this title?”  Most of the time the answer from the challenging patron is going to be no.  

A librarian was talking about ‘trash’ she read when she was in high school because there wasn’t as much YA - so it was straight to reading the adult books!  You have to read a bunch of horrible books to appreciate good books.  - to me this is a defining lesson. 

For book challenges - allowing students to read something and then articulate why they don’t like it.  This may be a lofty goal. 

Do you feel like you have support in your organization?   Yes - academic libraries that have a good relationship with administration and faculty.  This could be more difficult for school libraries.  

Have any of you followed what larger orgs are doing?  Library Twitter has been extra stressful - did ALA take too long where some of the challenges were happening? 

The Office of Intellectual Freedom is basically one person fielding all the challenges.  Their process isn’t always transparent and open because things are happening behind the scenes.  

It’s helpful to extend help to people that need it - keep in mind that a librarian might be the only person in a building or even a district. 

How do we prepare students for the shift in thinking in terms of what the library has to offer?  

In the past we’ve kind of turned them loose - first year experience and instruction - but perhaps down the road we should also introduce our collection.  It would be helpful to know the high school collections - there’s a bunch of high school students that have taken OCC English in high school and then show up for English 102.  

Are students not seeing books in the same way?  Students aren’t checking books out.  

More students are asking for popular reading in the Fall as opposed to Spring. 

Will Education classes start to address challenged titles?   

What kind of topics would you like to see covered?  Any speakers you would like to hear from?  We will look for dates where more people are available to attend. 

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065