It seems the Marshall, MO Pubic Library Board of Trustees has evaded a final decision on whether Blankets and Fun Home belong on library shelves. Both Dirk Deppey and Newsarama’s Matt Brady (found via Blog@) have spoken to the Marshall Democrat-News to get a rundown of last night’s meeting. Instead of making a decision specific to the books in question, the Board decided to form a committee to write a “materials selection policy.”
“The proposal was agreed to unanimously, and until the policy has been written and adopted by the Board, the two books will remain out of circulation. After the policy is formed, the two books will be evaluated as to their suitableness for the library.”
Kudos to Democrat-News reporter Zack Sims for asking the first question that came to my mind:
“Sims told Newsarama that he asked if all the books in the library would be treated as such, and retroactively run through the yet-to-be-written policy, and said that he was led to believe that they wouldn’t, though the policy will be applied to every new book.”
It’s still unclear as to who will serve this policy committee. The librarians who are already doing materials selection in keeping with their education and training? Concerned citizens? Board of Trustees members? Some combination of the above?
Tom Spurgeon reacts to the pseudo-decision, noting its canniness (and lack of conviction):
“It’s still distressing, because the books are not shelved until the time of their re-evaluation, which in a way means that for now the board gets to avoid making a decision and the heat that comes with it, but still gets the books off the shelves.”
I’ll be curious to see how the “materials selection policy” develops, who has final say, and just how much additional work this will be for Marshall’s librarians. Because when was the last time you heard of an over-funded, over-staffed public library?