jump to navigation

Who decides what the library has, holds, displays? March 2, 2007

Posted by Jennifer Parsons in Library Stuff.

I found this article in the Library Journal this morning:

Is Library Display ‘Hate Speech’ or Just an Alternate View?
The Mesa County Public Library, CO, last year offered a photography exhibit called “Love Makes a Family,” supportive of gay marriage. Now that Christians for Healthy Families, a local group, has offered a poster exhibit in response to it, a local attorney declared it “defamatory hate speech thinly disguised as religion,” according to the Daily Sentinel.

Also, a few days ago, author Neil Gaiman posted a letter from a Medina County, Ohio librarian describing “the maelstrom that can engulf a library system when it is targeted by a group of ‘concerned citizens.”

As a public resource, a library has the responsibility to provide a forum for free speech and the free exchange of ideas. However, as a community service, it also has the responsibility to be aware of its community’s needs and requests– which can include calls for censorship.

Should censorship be allowed in the library, and if so, how? Can a middle ground be found that promotes free speech while protecting the sensibilities of patrons? Are the Mesa County and Medina County library controversies about the same thing, or do they apply to different issues?

I have my own personal opinions on this, but before I start spouting them at 8:30 on a Friday morning, what say all of you?

[Edited to post a correct link to Gaiman’s blog entry.]



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: