OK, in the spirit of my criticisms of the Israel boycott, some defence of Libraries from around the world.
Two stories, first, from America :
One book for preschoolers called "King & King" is about a prince who falls in love with another prince.The idea that it may be up to the parents to monitor their childs usage of the library seems to have escaped them - Libraries supply what is available, people choose what to take from Libraries (and yes, I would hand over a copy of Mein Kampf if someone wanted one of our library's five editions).
One parent was alarmed when her child brought home a copy of "King & King" from the local library. Her husband complained to her state legislator, State Rep. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, who wrote a resolution to urge librarians to keep books with gay content away from kids.
This is the worrying part though:
Last month, the U.S. Congress got involved. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., proposed legislation that would require states to form local parental advisory boards to weigh in on all new library books and non-textbook school books or risk losing federal funding.None of this is quoite as worrying as this story from Italy:
An Italian librarian has lent a legally published book to a minor of 14 and is at risk of a sentence. The book entitled Scopami (Fuck me) by Virginie Despentes is generally available in libraries and is not classified as pornography. The book appears on a list of recommended books for teenagers issued by the Italian Ministry of Work and Welfare as part of anti-drug campaign. However, the librarian has been accused under art. 528 of the Italian Criminal Code which penalises anyone who keeps or distributes an obscene written document; with the term 'obscene' defined in the following paragraph (art. 529) as anything that is an offence against decency. The next hearing is scheduled for 17th June in the Court of Pavullo (Modena).This is plainly absurd, and strikes at the heart of the profession and concept of libraries. I'll try and find out what happens next.
Finally, we have a heart warming story, from America:
The House handed President Bush the first defeat in his effort to preserve the broad powers of the USA Patriot Act, voting yesterday to curtail the FBI's ability to seize library and bookstore records for terrorism investigations.
Now, my library does stock materials which may be of use to terrorists, especially the explosives shelf over the way from my desk. Terrorists may well look at them, but so will counter terrorists. You can't lock knowledge away, nor can you accuse someone because they know something.
Information wants to be free.