Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Round robin of Bermudez

The Examiner-Enterprise ran a community piece on the Bermudez Triangle controversy in Bartlesville. The mother who issued the challenge is quoted as saying
“I am so ecstatic that the parents have control over what goes into their children’s eyes,” Rader says. “I’m proud of the superintendent and the committee.

“I’m glad that I accomplished what I set out to do.”

What's that? Point out the inability of the Bartlesville school board to handle a book challenge? If so huzzah to you Ms. Rader. She continues...
Because of her success with this book, Rader says she wants to get the Bible back into schools in a history and literature class.

“And I’m working on that because I think it’s important for our kids to know where they came from,” Rader says. “I think the Bible’s a good foundation for our school. I think we’re way far from it and our kids are suffering.

And to her I ask which Bible will you be teaching? And will there be room for my Tanakh? The other thing -- I took a History of Christian Thought class in college -- let me tell you it's amusing watching an Irish Catholic try to explain to Southern Baptists the history of "The Church" thought and not have it turn into to a theology debate. If they do this in Bartlesville I suggest bringing popcorn it's a great show.

Maureen is quoted in the article as well
“I certainly don’t think the committee members are bad people — I think they’re just trying to do their jobs. But I also think that this decision was a bad one, and that the entire issue was mishandled. It seems, for example, that they violated policy by not informing the public of their actions. It was only because the librarians spoke up, and that I started the online campaign, that the public was ever notified. That’s what’s scary to me. A lot of these kinds of things happen and no one ever knows.”

and adds additional commentary on her blog as well
Now, as to what can be done . . .

In looking more into this matter (including speaking to anti-censorship king Chris Crutcher), really, Bartlesville has to fix Bartlesville. But nothing prevents me from talking about it and making the issues known. Or dancing about it, for that matter.

And she provides informative links for locals to get involved -- such as school board, ALA's rights to students and the Oklahoma ACLU.

So if you live, spend money, or anything else in or near Bartlesville drop the above folks a line and weigh in on the issue. And if you are a librarian double check your local policies on challenges -- use the ALA site on Dealing with Challenges to help you.

1 comment:

Beth said...

A pox on everyone's house.

The real issue is can teens in Bartlesville get access to books, and specifically can they get access to The Bermudez Triangle? The answer is yes: at the Public Library. They can also get access at the Mid-High library if their parents are willing to write a note.

The recommendation of the Committee, approved by the Superintendant was stupid and short-sighted. May Angela Rader be in their offices every day.

I think that the "parental approval" shelf at the Mid-High is going to turn out to be way too much trouble for everyone, and the book will quietly be returned to regular shelving.

I think what will carry the day is the common sense of the new Mid-High Librarian and the new Library Coordinator for Secondary Education. I think if we trust them to do their jobs, ultimately the situation will be quietly handled.

I don't think that Maureen speaking or dancing or karaoking in Bartlesville will really help anything. I think her presence here will just make the Superintendant cling all the harder to the "parental approval" shelf, and will make it harder for cooler heads to persuade him to change his mind.

It has been my experience that people are most likely to change their minds about something when they are approached positively with logic and compassion. It has to be safe for them to change their minds.

Aggression, threats, shaming...all that does is make people dig in and stubbornly cling to a decision no matter how ludicrious or illogical.