Friday, February 13, 2009

Self-censorship study results

The School Library Journal (US) undertook at study late last year on self-censorship among school librarians. The anonymous survey was emailed to 5,438 of SLJ’s Extra Helping subscribers in November 2008. The results are based on 654 school libraries responding and they are broken down as follows: 53% elementary school librarians, 37% middle school librarians, 30% high school librarians, and 5% other.

The SLJ survey found that 70% of librarians say they won’t buy certain controversial titles simply because they’re terrified of how parents will respond. Other common reasons for avoiding possible troublemakers include potential backlash from the administration (29%), the community (29%), or students (25%) and a whopping 23% of librarians say they won’t purchase a book due to personal objections - now I find that very disappointing.

Some librarians bypass good books—those with literary merit or that fill a need in their collections, the reasons ranging from a book’s sexual content and gay themes to its language and violence—and it happens in more libraries (public and school) than you think. This article, A dirty little secret : self-censorship, also from the School Library Journal is just one case study on the topic. The comments also make interesting reading.

1 comment:

vicki said...

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I try really hard for us not to be self censoring...we are a library after all!