Bec in the library

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges

Selection and censorship March 8, 2011

Filed under: ETL 503: topic 2 — becinthelibrary @ 12:58 pm
Tags: , , ,

What do you believe are the key principles relating to access to information that the above professional statements are advocating?

As outlined by Moody:

  • Vendor promotional, classification and selection bias
  • Use of citation rates in periodical selection and weeding
  • The exclusion of independently-published materials
  • Pressure from funding bodies
  • Self-censorship of librarians
  • Adherence to ‘community standards’
  • Labelling of controversial items
  • Inaccurate or slow cataloguing and classification
  • Exclusion of socially unpleasant materials, such as ‘hate items’

Is it practical to pursue such ideals in the school library context?

Time consuming perhaps but practical, yes. These are all just factors to run through your mental filter as you weigh a purchase.

How can we best ensure that the selection process is not censorial?

Collaboration is key. If an item is ringing some bells, just ask someone else! Run it through OZTL_NET or a fellow teacher, or TL. These decisions don’t have to be made alone! Be aware of our own biases and try to think laterally and be a devil’s advocate for yourself.

How can we ensure our policies on selection are not simply paying lip service to stated standards on ‘freedom of access’ that we may actually not follow when we feel vulnerable?

“Where one side of an argument or debate is represented in the collection, the various alternative sides should also be represented.” (Moody) If you feel uncomfortable with the stance a text is taking but you know the text provides freedom of access to information, try and find a resource that provides a balance.

Other interesting thoughts bought up by the articles

“The popularity of the items within your collection does not tell you anything about the need for items not in your collection.” (Moody) Such an interesting observation! How can we deal with this?

Cataloguing bias and labelling (Moody) – a big issue for me as the (mostly) sole cataloguer of our resources. How much bias do I employ?


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