Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Literary Profiling

In September there was a discussion amongst my colleagues about a book that should possibly be added to our Materials Incompatible list due to violating the selection criteria by having lots of depictions of actions or conduct prohibited by law, namely pedophilia.  The cover flap of this book even says (and I paraphrase) "The main character of this story has a sexual penchant for fourteen year old boys!" Personally, I don't think reading books about someone who likes fourteen year old boys is any more likely to make you a pedophile than reading books about people who like S&M will make you a dominatrix, but policy is policy.
Where I take umbrage is that I received this book as a donation today. From Property. Which means that the Mail Room let it into the facility. The Mail Room, who is supposed to be the gate keeper of censorship. The Mail Room who also sends EVERY URBAN FICTION BOOK to the reading committee for "questionable content." The Mail Room who wants to censor a photograph of a teeny tiny side boob that is no bigger than my pinky nail in a 450 page magazine. They find the smallest side boob, BUT THEY MISS THE BOOK THAT SAYS "sex with fourteen year old boys inside!" RIGHT ON THE COVER???
Now here is where my delimma enters into the picture. Do I take it triumphantly down to the Mail Room and wave it in their faces and say "You philistines! Look, LOOK what you let in, when you freak out over every opaquely covered hard nipple in Vogue! Clearly you are profiling the books and magazines you send to the reading committee because you have NO IDEA WHAT TO LOOK FOR!" ?? Heck no I am not going to do that even though I want to really bad. Because if I do that, I think it will backfire and lead to the Mail Room censoring even more materials. It's a fine line in prison my future prison librarians. One must learn to pick one's battles and to defend the freedom to read in all forms even if that form happens to be the lack of attention to detail on the part of the censors.
Until next time!

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