Choosing to Read
I applaud our library staff’s decision to add Katherine Locke’s What Are Your Words?: A Book About Pronouns to our library’s collection. It will add balance to the hundreds of children’s books at KML that feature straight, white, cisgender characters. Have you read this gentle book? It is a story about Ari’s walk through the neighborhood with their Uncle Lior. Along the way they meet lots of neighbors and learn the words each of them use to describe themselves. Ari discovers that it’s okay not to know your words right away.
I will enjoy sharing this book with my grandchildren. But if you don’t like the book, please remember that there are many other books to choose from. Our library has many books that I don’t want to read and some that I find offensive. I’m reassured by the fact that I don’t have to borrow those books. I can leave them on the shelf or display for others.
For anyone who wishes to voice a formal concern about a book, movie or display, it’s easier than ever. Our library director has a special form on which the patron can explain why he/she/they consider the book to be objectionable. Just ask for the form at the front desk.
Ed. note Ms. White is a member of The Friends of the Library
On the Neutrality of our Library
What is “neutral” as far as a library is concerned? What constitutes “balance”? Some say, “libraries should provide materials on all points of view.” If some books are about how to prevent child abuse, we do not need books that promote child abuse. If many books are about why all races should be treated equally, we do not need books on why the white race is superior. History books about the Holocaust do not need to be balanced by books written by Holocaust deniers.
In a similar vein, we do not need balance between “respect all religions” versus “anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim views”; “books about love” versus “books about hate”; “how schools defend against shooters” versus “how shooters can attack a school”; and “provide support to our LGBTQ children” versus “add stress to the lives of our LGBTQ children”.
Somewhere between 5% and 8% of our citizens are gay. Based on that fact, 5 to 8 percent of our library books should contain stories about LGBTQ people. Children’s books should represent the many kinds of families that live in Suffield, not just two-parent, straight, white Christian families.
Any user of Kent Memorial Library who feels that their viewpoint is not being represented, is more than welcome to recommend specific books that do represent their viewpoint for library consideration. If no such books exist on a topic (such as harm caused by a book on pronouns), how can the library be called not balanced?
Ed. note Mr. White is a member of The Library Commission
Since our first selectman was acting as CEO of the town (Hartford Courant, 3/20/2023) to protect our children by sanitizing a display of books in Kent Library, I wonder if he will continue these endeavors to cleanse our entire community.
He should start by taking a drive through town to see the small, but visible, display of political banners that include the word “bullst**t,” and the phrase “F**k Joe Biden.” However, when he tries to remove these, he will find resistance much greater than at the circulation desk of Kent. His tour of the town should culminate at the barn directly across from Spaulding School– the one with the large euphemistically-vulgar sign of ” Let’s go Brandon.” In case he misses the point of it, the smaller letters “FJB” in front of the sign will give him a clue to its meaning. This sign is viewed every day by hundreds of Spaulding students, which is a much larger viewing audience than the one at the book rack in Kent.
And finally, to complete his crusade, he should take the advice of his fellow selectman who said there should be “balance” to harmful entities: where the first selectman finds a “Let’s go Brandon” sign, he should put one up next to it that says, “God bless you, Joe Biden.” Fait accompli! Our children are saved.