Director’s memo 1/19

The Library has been in the news recently (Wichita Eagle, KWCH, KSN) regarding a Materials Reconsideration Request filed by one of our patrons. I would like to explain the procedure and what has transpired to date.

  1. Patrons talked with me about concerns they had over the books George by Alex Gino, Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart and I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, Illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas. These books all feature transgender children. They were written for children.
  2. I read Lily and Dunkin and I am Jazz*. I also looked at professional reviews of these books. I wrote the patrons a letter explaining my decision to keep the books in the children’s section.
  3. A patron elected to file Materials Reconsideration Requests on the three books requesting they be removed from the children’s section.
  4. Per Library Policy, a committee was formed of myself, our Youth Services Manager, a Library Board member, an Andover resident, and a representative appointed by the challenger.  The committee read all 3 books and met to discuss the books.  The committee voted 4-1 to retain the books in the children’s section.
  5. The challenger appealed to the Library board of directors at the January 9th meeting. This board meeting allowed comments from the public. The Library Gallery was full of people on both sides of the issue: retain or move.
  6. The board will vote on the books on the February 13th board meeting at 6:00 pm.  Their decision is final.

I based my decision in part on our Library Board approved American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and the Free Access to Libraries for Minors statement. Quoting from Free Access to Libraries for Minors statement:

Article V of the LIBRARY BILL OF RIGHTS states “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.” Every restriction and access to, and use of, library resources, based solely on the chronological age, education level, or legal emancipation of users violates Article V.

Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources. Parents or legal guardians who do not want their children to have access to certain library services, materials or facilities should so advise their children. Librarians and governing bodies cannot assume the role of parents for the functions of parental authority in the private relationship between parent and child. Librarians and governing bodies have a public and professional obligation to provide equal access to all library resources for all library users.

As a library professional, I am committed to these principles. I am also committed to listening to our users’ concerns and ask that you respect them regardless of their position on this issue.

Tom Taylor
Director
Andover Public Library

*I did not initially read George. It is on the William Allen White 2017-2018 Master List of books for grades 3-5. The selection committee for these awards includes Kansas school librarians, principals, English teachers and representatives from various Kansas associations and the Kansas State Department of Education. Andover Public Library buys multiple copies of nominated books. In 2017 the Friends of the Library provided us with a grant to buy multiple copies. We also try to purchase these titles in other mediums like CD. The demand is high. We place all of our copies of William Allen White books in the juvenile section of the library. I did check where other libraries placed George in their collections. A large majority of them were in the Juvenile Fiction collections. In deference to the award committee and in result of my searches, I concluded that the book should stay where it is.

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Most Borrowed Books of 2018

We’re celebrating 2018 as a year of great reads and reflecting on some of APL’s favorite titles. Here are the library’s most borrowed Adult, YA, and Children’s books of 2018:

Adult Fiction

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Disappeared by C.J. Box

Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Midnight Line by Lee Child

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Origin by Dan Brown

Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

 

Adult Non-Fiction

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Educated by Tara Westover

Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match: 70 Recipes to Pair and Share by Ivy Manning

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Come and Get It! Simple, Scrumptious Recipes for Crazy Busy Lives by Ree Drummond

Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life by Jenna Bush Hager

The Stress-Proof Brain: Master Your Emotional Response to Stress Using Mindfulness and Neuroplasticity by Melanie Greenberg

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

 

YA Fiction

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Divergent by Veronica Roth

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

 

Children’s

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney

Fly Guy and the Frankenfly by Tedd Arnold

Fly Guy vs. the Fly Swatter by Tedd Arnold

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Shoo, Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

Hooray for Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney

 

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