In the (Democrat-)News

March 15, 2007

Here’s the report from Rachel Harper at the Democrat-News on last night’s Marshall Public Library Board of Trustees meeting. My favorite bit is a passage quoting John Carton, director of a local youth services agency, speaking on behalf of Fun Home and Blankets:

“He told of the personal identity issues of the characters in the books and the isolation the characters went through.

“He said it requires strength to go through those experiences.

“‘We should encourage those processes, not discourage them,’ Carton said. Isolation can be devastating to kids, he said.”

More on Marshall

March 15, 2007

Marshall Public Library director Amy Crump was kind enough to answer a couple of questions about last night’s Board of Trustees meeting via e-mail:

“Yes, the Marshall Public Library Board of Trustees adopted the new Materials Selection Policy last night. As stated in October, they then re-examined the books Fun Home and Blankets in light of the new policy, in order to decide what action should be taken.

“Fun Home had been shelved with the adult biographies and will be returned to that spot. Blankets had been shelved with Young Adult materials and will be moved to the adult general fiction.

“The Marshall Public Library does not have a special section for graphic novels. They are shelved in the appropriate area (fiction, non-fiction).

“I just want to say that I am so pleased with all the Board’s hard work on this policy. They have written a policy that will enable the Marshall Public Library to continue to add quality literature to the collection for the foreseeable future.”

The contested books are back on the shelves, and the library has a policy in place that will help them respond to these kind of issues in the future. Everybody wins!

Fun Home, Blankets back on the shelf

March 15, 2007

The Democrat-News hasn’t posted its coverage of last night’s meeting of the Marshall, Mo. Public Library Board yet, but library director Amy Crump left a comment here that says:

“The Marshall Public Library Board of Trustees voted to return both ‘Fun Home’ and ‘Blankets’ to the library’s shelves on Wednesday, March 14, 2007.”

That’s great news, and I’ll try and e-mail Ms. Crump for more details.

Second reading

March 14, 2007

The Marshall, Mo., Public Library Board will hold the second reading of its proposed materials selection policy at a meeting tonight, according to the Democrat-News.

Here’s a preview of the policy, and here’s a report on the first reading, held last month.

First reading

February 8, 2007

And here’s the Democrat-News report on the first reading of the materials selection policy at yesterday’s meeting of the Marshall Public Library Board. A final vote will follow at the next meeting of the board scheduled for March 17.

Two Marshall citizens contributed their views on the policy. One wore an “I Read Banned Books” button, and the other suggested that library patrons could “find these types of trash along I-70.” Ah, nuanced public discourse.

And here, for anyone curious, are the selection criteria that the library system uses:

“The factors are: constraints of budget; contemporary/social significance; critical acclaim; format and durability of material suitable for library use; local interest; patron requests; popular demand; reputation and significance of author, illustrator, editor, artist, performer, etc.; reputation/authority of author; scarcity of material on the subject and availability elsewhere; and/or timeliness and/or permanence or subject matter.”

Anyone care to play a round of Count the Applicable Criteria? I think Fun Home meets at least five, but I could never make it all the way through Blankets.

Nearing the finish line

February 8, 2007

There was a more comprehensive preview of the Marshall Public Library’s proposed materials selection policy in yesterday’s Democrat-News.

Here’s the process the committee has designed:

  • A library patron submits a written request for reconsideration of material they find questionable.
  • After informing the library board of the request, the library director evaluates the material based on selection criteria, possibly seeking input from other parties.
  • The material in question will remain available on reserve for in-library use.
  • The library director will notify the patron of the decision regarding the request.
  • The patron can appeal the director’s decision to the library board if they disagree with the outcome, and the board’s decision will be final.
  • The library board was scheduled to review and possibly approve the policy proposal during last night’s meeting.

    This just in

    January 26, 2007

    And the Marshall Democrat-News provides an update on last night’s final meeting of the library’s materials selection policy development committee. The group approved the new policy unanimously, and the draft will be brought before the library board Feb. 7 for discussion and possible approval.

    More from Marshall

    January 26, 2007

    The Marshall Democrat-News provided a more extensive summary of the most recent meeting of the library committee tasked to develop a materials selection policy after a citizen complained about the presence of Craig Thompson’s Blankets and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home on the shelves.

    Here are some highlights:

    On the possibility of labeling graphic novels for content:

    “At the committee’s last meeting on Thursday, Jan. 11, the committee decided not to assign a prejudicial label [for graphic novels] or segregate them by a prejudicial system.”

    On materials selection in general:

    “Materials will be chosen by reviews, public demand, budget factors, recognition on a best-sellers list, and many other aspects of available information.”

    On a formal process for reconsidering material that’s been challenged by a library patron:

    “The agreement apparently reached by the committee allows a patron to fill out and submit a request for reconsideration of materials. The next step is for the director to review the criteria for why it was chosen and should or should not remain in the library. The director may ask staff or outside resources, such as another library, for additional information on the material or materials in question. When a request is filed, the director will inform the board president immediately and the president will inform the rest of the board.”

    Another meeting of the library committee was held last night, so more concrete conclusions will apparently be forthcoming.

    Missed it

    January 23, 2007

    There was another update on the materials selection policy development process at the Marshall Public Library in the Jan. 19 edition of the Democrat-News. The policy is apparently close to being completed, and the group will meet again on Thursday, Jan. 25.

    The latest

    December 11, 2006

    There’s a quick blurb in a recent edition of the Marshall Democrat-News about the ongoing committee work on the materials selection policy. No new details to speak of, but again, it’s nice to see that the paper still has its eyes on the process.