The Benefits of Banning Books

...Sad Bear...

…Sad Bear… (Photo credit: ĐāżŦ {mostly absent})

Most librarians make a big deal out of Banned Books Week. They’re against banning books. They call it censorship.

I’m in favor of banning books. I call it marketing.

You’d be surprised at some of the books that get banned in some school districts, though perhaps not by the Texas State Board of Education banning Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See because they confused that book’s author, Bill Martin, Jr. with the author Bill Martin who wrote a book promoting ethical Marxism. I’m not for or against ethical Marxism, more than partially because I have no idea what it is, but I’m highly impressed by the educational leadership in Texas.

The Christian Science Monitor put together a nice list of 20 banned books that might surprise you.

I am in favor of banning books because a book being banned is just the thing to get a kid to read it. Okay, maybe not the dictionary. Not much of a story there (yes, some districts in California banned the Merriam-Webster Dictionary because it includes definitions of some sexual terms).

All a student needs to hear is that some parent or other authority somewhere doesn’t want them to read something because it might harm them in some way and there’s a rush to check it out of the library.

So thank you school boards, state departments of education, and other authorities that take the time and effort to promote literature in this highly creative way. You’ve done a great job!

Can I suggest some other titles you might want to take a look at?

Oh, you don’t have to read the books, just scan for the naughty bits and do your thing.

My circulation numbers need a boost.

Ever Wonder What a School Librarian Does?


This is the list of librarian duties in a current posting for a six-month contract at a private school in NYC, with the possibility of it becoming a permanent position. I am not going to mention the school If you want to apply for the job, email me:

University of Michigan Library Card CatalogPosition Summary: Under the supervision of the Executive Director, the librarian will establish and maintain a comprehensive library cataloging and tracking system for the _______

School. (Six Month Assignment with the possibility of becoming a regular position).

Duties and Responsibilities:

Administers the library media program, developing policies and procedures to assure efficient operation and services.

Administers set up and maintenance of automated catalog and circulation system.

Selects, purchases, and processes new materials to assure a current and balanced collection representing diverse points of view.

Classifies catalogs, and circulates library material and instructs students and staff in the use of the library system.

Maintains circulation and collection records; provides regular reports as needed.

Establishes an on-site mail, email and fax reference assistance system used by staff and volunteers.

Establishes a circulation program for the children’s collection.

Coordinates, develops, publicizes children’s collecdtion and story time program.

Establishes a process to assist teachers in selecting books to incorporate into classroom discussions and coordinates story

time readings for school group.

Assists with development and management of library systems; books, periodical, catalogs, slides and othe special collections.

Establishes protocols and policies to train, coordinate, supervise and manage volunteer assistants.

Conducts orientations; assists with managing book sales, art previews, benefits and other special events.

Assists in management of online catalog and other electronic resources.

In conjunction with the Reading and Language Specialist, actively promotes reading, library use through such activities as storytelling, booktalkd, display, publications, reading programs and special events as needed.

Develops bibliographies, display, bulletin boards to support school thems, extend classroom learning and to promote interest in reading.

Participates in library planning and implementation processes.

Acts as the information leader in the school.

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Performs other duties as assigned.


Masters Degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from an American Library Association (ALM) accredited program.

New York State (NYS) certification as school librarian.

Proven work experience in library science.

Experience with technical services procedures using Windows-based computer systems, databases and electronic resources,

Some experience working with children services and programming.

Ability to interact with staff and volunteers in a busy environment and shared space.

Strong organization, problem-solving skills and attention to detail.

Excellent verbal and written comunication [sic] skills. (ed. note – presumably including spell checking)

Physical demand include loading, lifting and carrying boxes of books for sales; moving furniture to rearrange reading room for library events and regular moving of books and periodicals in routine management of library collections.

I’m tired just reading that. Of course, I’ve already put in a full day as a school librarian.

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KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Islamic Republic of Afghani...

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…pays for about 1/10th of one second of advertising in the Super Bowl this year.


…pays for 1.5 seconds of the US’s involvement in Afghanistan.


That’s my budget for library media for this entire school year.


That includes all audio-visual materials, books, magazines/ periodicals/newspapers, maps/globes, tapes, microfilms, and computer software for use in the library.


That’s $6.25 per student enrolled in the school last October.


That $6.25 per student rate was set by the NY State legislature in 1999.


US total inflation from June 2000, to June 2011 is 30.93% according to


Inflation in the rate budgeted per student 0%


“Most school libraries managed to escape the economic trials of 2010 largely unscathed––with the exception of those in high-poverty areas, which saw significant declines in spending on information resources and in collection size.”
American Library Association report on the State of American Libraries.


My school is in the poorest Congressional district in the nation.


Perhaps I should be grateful that my budget has not gone down.


I’m not.

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