Why Defend Freedom of Icky Speech?

Neil Gaiman responding to a question on why defending free speech you don’t like is necessary’  made me realize how important it is to remind ourselves as young adult librarians to push our comfort levels when buying potentially controversial materials.’  In thinking about graphic novels, I wonder if larger systems with three different sections of GN might be more willing to start something in YA knowing they can always move to A if needed.’  10 years ago when it was harder to find enough Children’s GN to fill up a shelf, there was more danger of having Tintin next to Watchman, but now it seems easier.

I have only worked for large metropolitan systems, so my experience with patrons seeking to remove materials has been limited to spending time writing letters justifying the material questioned, and then at most reclasifying, but never removing the item.’  A senior librarian once told me when I started that she would never ban anything because that would “start a train that would never stop”.

I agree with Neil’ Gaiman that if it happens once, it’s so much easier to go down that path again.

Marcus Lowry

About Intellectual Freedom Committee

The intellectual freedom committee serves as a liaison between the YALSA and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee and all other groups within the Association concerned with intellectual freedom.

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