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These days, I'm the director of the American Library Association' s Office for Intellectual Freedom. I'm also executive director and secretary of the Freedom to Read Foundation. See "About Me" for contact information.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Uncle Bobby's Wedding

Recently, a library patron challenged (urged a reconsideration of the ownership or placement of) a book called "Uncle Bobby's Wedding." Honestly, I hadn't even heard of it until that complaint. But I did read the book, and responded to the patron, who challenged the item through email and requested that I respond online (not via snail-mail) about her concerns.

I suspect the book will get a lot of challenges in 2008-2009. So I offer my response, purging the patron's name, for other librarians.

Uncle Bobby's wedding
June 27, 2008

Dear Ms. Patron:

Thank you for working with my assistant to allow me to fit your concerns about “Uncle Bobby's Wedding,” by Sarah S. Brannen, into our “reconsideration” process. I have been assured that you have received and viewed our relevant policies: the Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, the Freedom to View, and our Reconsideration Policy.

The intent of providing all that isn't just to occupy your time. It's to demonstrate that our lay Board of Trustees –- which has reviewed and adopted these policies on behalf of our library -- has spent time thinking about the context in which the library operates, and thoughtfully considered the occasional discomfort (with our culture or constituents) that might result. There's a lot to consider.

Here's what I understand to be your concern, based on your writings. First, you believe that “the book is specifically designed to normalize gay marriage and is targeted toward the 2-7 year old age group.” Your second key concern is that you “find it inappropriate that this type of literature is available to this age group.” You cite your discussion with your daughter, and commented, “This was not the type of conversation I thought I would be having with my seven year old in the nightly bedtime routine.”

Finally, you state your strong belief, first, “in America and the beliefs of our founding fathers,” and second, that “marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman as stated in the Webster's dictionary and also in the Bible.”

You directed me to the SarahBrannen.com site, which I also reviewed. I got a copy of “Uncle Bobby's Wedding” today, and read it. I even hauled out my favorite Webster's (the college edition, copyright 1960).

First, I think you're right that the purpose of the book is to show a central event, the wedding of two male characters, as no big thing. The emotional center of the story, of course, is Chloe's fear that she's losing a favorite uncle to another relationship. That fear, I think, is real enough to be an issue for a lot of young children. But yes, Sarah Brannen clearly was trying to portray gay marriage as normal, as not nearly so important as the changing relationship between a young person and her favorite uncle.

Your second issue is a little trickier. You say that the book is inappropriate, and I infer that your reason is the topic itself: gay marriage. I think a lot of adults imagine that what defines a children's book is the subject. But that's not the case. Children's books deal with anything and everything. There are children's books about death (even suicide), adult alcoholism, family violence, and more. Even the most common fairy tales have their grim side: the father and stepmother of Hansel and Gretel, facing hunger and poverty, take the children into the woods, and abandon them to die! Little Red Riding Hood (in the original version, anyhow) was eaten by the wolf along with granny. There's a fascinating book about this, by the bye, called “The Uses of Enchantment: the Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales,” by psychologist Bruno Bettelheim. His thesis is that both the purpose and power of children's literature is to help young people begin to make sense of the world. There is a lot out there that is confusing, or faintly threatening, and even dangerous in the world. Stories help children name their fears, understand them, work out strategies for dealing with life. In Hansel and Gretel, children learn that cleverness and mutual support might help you to escape bad situations. In Little Red Riding Hood, they learn not to talk to big bad strangers. Of course, not all children's books deal with “difficult issues,” maybe not even most of them. But it's not unusual.

So what defines a children's book is the treatment, not the topic. “Uncle Bobby's Wedding” is 27-28 pages long (if you count the dedication page). Generally, there are about 30 words per page, and each page is illustrated. The main character, and the key perspective, is that of a young girl. The book is published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, “a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.” The Cataloging in Publication information (on the back side of the title page) shows that the catalogers of the Library of Congress identified it as an “E” book – easy or beginning reader. Bottom line: It's hard for me to see it as anything but a children's book.

You suggested that the book could be “placed in an area designating the subject matter,” or “labeled for parental guidance” by stating that “some material may be inappropriate for young children.” I have two responses. First, we tried the “parenting collection” approach a couple of times in my history here. And here's what we found: nobody uses them. They constitute a barrier to discovery and use. The books there – and some very fine ones -- just got lost. In the second case, I believe that every book in the children's area, particularly in the area where usually the parent is reading the book aloud, involves parental guidance. The labeling issue is tricky, too: is the topic just homosexuality? Where babies come from? Authority figures that can't be trusted? Stepmothers who abandon their children to die?

Ultimately, such labels make up a governmental determination of the moral value of the story. It seems to me – as a father who has done a lot of reading to his kids over the years – that that kind of decision is up to the parents, not the library. Because here's the truth of the matter: not every parent has the same value system.

You feel that a book about gay marriage is inappropriate for young children. But another book in our collection, “Daddy's Roommate,” was requested by a mother whose husband left her, and their young son, for another man. She was looking for a way to begin talking about this with son. Another book, “Alfie's Home,” was purchased at the request of another mother looking for a way to talk about the suspected homosexuality of her young son from a Christian perspective. There are gay parents in Douglas County, right now, who also pay taxes, and also look for materials to support their views. We don't have very many books on this topic, but we do have a handful.

In short, most of the books we have are designed not to interfere with parents' notions of how to raise their children, but to support them. But not every parent is looking for the same thing.

Your third point, about the founders' vision of America, is something that has been a matter of keen interest to me most of my adult life. In fact, I even wrote a book about it, where I went back and read the founders' early writings about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. What a fascinating time to be alive! What astonishing minds! Here's what I learned: our whole system of government was based on the idea that the purpose of the state was to preserve individual liberties, not to dictate them. The founders uniformly despised many practices in England that compromised matters of individual conscience by restricting freedom of speech. Freedom of speech – the right to talk, write, publish, discuss – was so important to the founders that it was the first amendment to the Constitution – and without it, the Constitution never would have been ratified.

How then, can we claim that the founders would support the restriction of access to a book that really is just about an idea, to be accepted or rejected as you choose? What harm has this book done to anyone? Your seven year old told you, “Boys are not supposed to marry.” In other words, you have taught her your values, and those values have taken hold. That's what parents are supposed to do, and clearly, exposure to this book, or several, doesn't just overthrow that parental influence. It does, of course, provide evidence that not everybody agrees with each other; but that's true, isn't it?

The second part of your third point was your belief that marriage was between a man and a woman. My Webster's actually gives several definitions of marriage: “1. the state of being married; relation between husband and wife...; 2. the act of marrying, wedding; 3. the rite or form used in marrying; 4. any close or intimate union.” Definitions 2-4, even as far back as 1960, could be stretched to include a wedding between two men. Word definitions change; legal rights change. In some parts of America, at least today, gay marriage is legal. If it's legal, then how could writing a book about it be inappropriate?

Finally, then, I conclude that “Uncle Bobby's Wedding” is a children's book, appropriately categorized and shelved in our children's picture book area. I fully appreciate that you, and some of your friends, strongly disagree with its viewpoint. But if the library is doing its job, there are lots of books in our collection that people won't agree with; there are certainly many that I object to. Library collections don't imply endorsement; they imply access to the many different ideas of our culture, which is precisely our purpose in public life.

As noted in our policies, you do have the right to appeal my decision to the Board of Trustees. If you'd like to do that, let me know, and I can schedule a meeting. Meanwhile, I'm more than happy to discuss this further with you. I do appreciate many things: your obvious value of reading, your frank and loving relationship with your child, your willingness to raise issues of importance to you in the public square, and more. Thank you, very much, for taking the time to raise your concerns with me. Although I suspect you may not agree with my decision, I hope it's clear that I've given it a great deal of thought, and believe it is in accordance with both our guiding principles, and those, incidentally, of the founders of our nation.

Best wishes to you and your family,

458 comments:

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Staci said...

This was such a thoughtful letter. You have stated so clearly what a library's purpose should be.

You reminded me of a professional storyteller my then-4-year old daughter and I heard. She told a story that I feared would be inappropriate for my daughter, and afterwards, told me, "We don't tell children stories about dragons to teach them that dragons exist. We tell them stories about dragons to teach them that dragons can be defeated."

I've always loved that--how stories are integral to helping children deal with problems and issues that we don't know how else to teach.

Katie J said...

Well said and I couldn't agree more. I'm passing this along to all my librarian friends.

Awntie Spyder said...

Excellent letter. Excellent blog. Thank you for sharing your correspondence in this public forum. I will subscribe to your blog and look forward to reading it often.

Amy McWeasel said...

I greatly enjoyed reading this thoughtful, articulate, respectful, non-confrontational example of debate. Thank you so much for sharing it with us; I'm saving it as a stellar example of graceful discourse.

haricot vert said...

That is a great post. I'm in library school now, and reading your response makes me feel better about the impact my chosen profession can make. :)
Thanks!

Molly said...

An excellent letter, and the comments are fascinating.

After reading ammouth's screed against libraries, I finally did what I've been meaning to for the two years I've lived in this city: I went and got a library card. I also picked up two books and a stack of information on how to donate to my city's library system.

I'm one of the privileged few who can afford to buy more books than I can read, but I'm still a proud and loud library supporter. Ammouth probably didn't mean to goad me into getting out and supporting my local library, but I'm glad ze did.

Bri said...

Such a wonderful letter, thank you so much for sharing it. It makes me so happy that there are librarians like you :).

(Found your site through Neil Gaiman's blog.)

Kaethe said...

Wonderful letter.

.38 said...

Beautiful. As a constitutional law attorney I applaud your convictions and your obvious passion for the meaning of free speech. Kudos!

Classically Megan said...

J+M+J

"If it's legal, then how could writing a book about it be inappropriate?"

Hmmm....well, in Hitler's Germany, it was "legal" to torture and even murder Jewish people. Does the mere fact that something is considered "legal" give it the stamp of appropriateness?

rahelab said...

I'm filled with admiration for the lucid, thoughtful, rational way you addressed the many aspects - both explicit and implicit - of the debate, and presented them in a non-emotional, contextual way. You can be sure that next time I'm called upon to answer a thorny question, I will think back to your response and hope that I can be even half as eloquent as you.

mikeyed said...

Wow. As one who is in the process of applying for a Masters in Library Science I found this to be quite an inspiring piece. Thank you for being such a concise writer and noble librarian.

Jamie said...

Classically Megan, you know, you're right. Being legal doesn't automatically make something "appropriate" in the sense of morally correct. Anti-miscegenation laws weren't "appropriate" in that sense either. And being illegal doesn't necessarily mean something is *in*appropriate morally. The legality of something really doesn't have much to do either way with its appropriateness as a book, now that I think that through a bit. My point really wasn't very clear there. But I'm not sure yours is either. Writing a book about a little girl worried about losing her uncle, but finally, happy to be a flower girl in that uncle's wedding isn't quite the same thing as an endorsement of torture, either. Unless you really hate being a flower girl.

Bullwinkle said...

Excellent, thoughtful,caring response. Thanks for posting it.

Jenny said...

A fine thoughtful letter indeed. I don't know how you manage to go that long without belitteling the patron's homophobia even a little bit. I'd probably have said something along the lines of "Clearly we need more books normalizing gay marriage so that people like yourself can learn to tolerate it."

But then, I'm no librarian.

Tamora Rose said...

An online friend sent me here.

Fabulous letter! Well reasoned, thoughtful, gentle yet firm.

Now I know to make a point of reading this blog regularly.

Thank you for being on the front lines in your role as a librarian: knowledge truly is the most powerful weapon in any arsenal.

evila_elf said...

Great letter! Unfortunately, I doubt the person it was directed at read all of it.

Alyce said...

My friend pointed me to this blog entry, and I just wanted to tell you how thoughtful, intelligent and compassionate it was. You addressed the patron's concerns without talking down to her, and yet you stuck up for freedom of speech. Great job!

Baba Yaga said...

Good Grief. I have no doubt my comment is redundant, amid the 419 preceding it!, but comment I shall. I can. ;-)

Anyone who uses a library well finds books therein which he finds offensive - at least, supposing him to have any principles at all. The existence of an astrology section makes steam come from my ears. (A likely point of agreement between the more ardent theists and the more ardent atheists.) So it should - but so should, the removal of those books for any reason other than lack of public interest.

A wise friend of mine states, "the antidote to bad speech is good speech, not censorship". I, a cynic, add that forbidden fruits are always attractive.

As for the types of conversation one expects to have with children - as a mere aunt, I'm discovering that one has the conversations presented by the dilemmas children themselves meet, not by one's own view of the world as it should be. It's arguable that the more difficult the subject, the earlier (and the more comprehensively) we should be discussing it. I've discussed the possible death of a parent on the walk to nursery (pre-school, to USians) - not what I expected, or hoped for, but the more important *because it's difficult.

Unhealthy things breed in darkess.

lostbetweentheletters said...

Thanks for this beautiful letter. I wish that this debate could always be handled with such poise and consideration. I hope that its recipient felt the same way. I've posted it on my blog to pass it along further.

Erica said...

as a children's librarian, i can't even BEGIN to tell you how much i appreciate the thoughtfulness, diplomacy, and brilliance of your response to this. bravo, and THANK YOU!!!

exurbanmyth said...

As a student in the MLIS program at Rutgers, I just want to say Thank you Thank you Thank you.

Cheyenne Marie said...

First, I need to tell you that your response was one of the most incredible, well thought out, coherent and educational responses I have EVER read in my life.

Second, Thank you for standing up to someone in a gentle and thoughtful way. Unfortunately in today's society we, as a whole, tend to walk on eggshells, afraid that someone might be upset or bothered. There is no way to make everyone happy, and the fact of the matter is, by trying to be everyone's "best friend" is the worst thing we can do.

Basically we live in a new and different world, and like it or not, some people have to realize that their beliefs cannot govern the entire world. Parents who believe, or are faced with issues such as divorce, gay relationships, gay marriage, young sex, and abuse are very real issues and parents, and for that matter some adults, need help facing these issues in the best way they can.

I hope you and your Board of Directors continue to show the type of awareness and responsibility that you have to this point, and realize that there will always be someone with issues, but there are more of us out there that think that although I/we may not agree or want my children to know certain things, I still believe the information is more important than a few irritated persons and am aware that there are people out there that do need and can use information that I may not.

Lindsey Wolf said...

That was AMAZING! That made my day to see someone respond that thoroughly and professionally about a really "hot" issue! PROPS!

Chance said...

Yes, what a wonderful, well written letter. What a shame it was almost certainly wasted on the troglodytic ignoramus who complained in the first place.

Alan said...

I take objection to your comment, Chance, describing the lady Jamie answered as a "troglodytic ignoramus who complained in the first place". It shows you missed the whole point of what Jamie wrote in the first place. The lady in question was someone like you and me, entitled to her own opinions and prejudices, and Jamie answered her with respect and consideration, which is why his answer is so honorable and has caused such an interesting discussion in this blog. We should never, never refer in this manner to someone who has differing opinions to our own.

Belladonna1975 said...

Jamie,

You have solidified for me, my decision to go back to school to become a librarian.

Thank you!

Suga Pink said...

I've just run across this through Stumble Upon tonight. What a wonderfully well written letter. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

Nathan said...

Impressive, well thought out letter. Really...fantastic!

linnyqat said...

Hi Jamie,

Wow, a year and a half later and you are still getting regular comments. Just adding my voice to the chorus of thank yous and bravos.

A friend posted a link to this blog on a Facebook note I'd posted, regarding an article in the Toronto Star about a California school that BANNED A DICTIONARY because it contained the phrase "oral sex"! I am going to post a link to this blog in the comments section.

Cheers, and thanks also for your kindness. You're a beautiful soul.

Jamie said...

Thank you all for keeping this thread active. Yes, I just saw the banned dictionary, which is a scene right out of "Greater Tuna," a play I was in a couple of years ago. As I have often said, though, sex doesn't get any safer than just reading about it. And ignorance of the English language doesn't seem like much of a strategy for safety either.

FrumiousBandersnatch said...

I'm clearly quite late in discovering this wonderful and thoughtful letter (via stumbleupon. I admire your ability to argue the issue with evidence, not the person. I don't think there are all that many people mature enough, or willing to take the time, to do so.
I love books and words and I think that having ideas freely available to all people is ont of the most important things in the world.
I wondered what the outcome of the letter was - did the complainant take the matter up with the Board, or accept your decision?

Jamie said...

FrumiousBandersnatch: I don't know as she accepted it. But she did not pursue that matter any further with my board.

TricotChico said...

Fabulous! I just discovered this post via stumbleupon.com & I'm really pleased with the way you've handled this situation.

kavosh said...

Beautifully reasoned and well written very well written letter.
Well done!

Chat Noir Books - A Voice in the Wilderness said...

What a fantastic letter. To defend your position without belittling your patron's concerns is difficult at best and you rose to the occasion with grace and dignity.

Nicolas said...

Thanks for sharing Wonderful moment.

Ruth said...

I'm not gay, a librarian or even an American but I was so impressed with this letter and your handling of the situation that I'm going to take the letter into work to show people as an example of brilliant customer service.

I'm also going to see if my local library here in Sheffield, UK, has a copy of Uncle Bobby's Wedding and if not I'm going to donate a copy.

Cara said...

Close minded bitch got told.

Margaret said...

While I'm not sure I could possibly add anything new to the conversation, I would like to add my voice to the chorus of "Bravo!"s. Well done.

Swaineadeney said...

Both the original complaint and your letter in response to it are fatally flawed.

On the one hand, there is no point in complaining about the "inclusion" of a book in a library which has no rational criteria for its book selections beyond "everything and anything".

Your letter in reply cements this point. Regrettably your reasons are based entirely on the status quo of modern US society.

Neither sensitivities nor library committees are at stake here - for who could care less? What is a stake is whether the library should employ an discerning criteria for its selections based on "right reason". All other considerations are totally irrelevant and entirely based on subjective opinion.

There is sophistry in your comparing traditional fairy tales - which often mark right from wrong with the use of striking imagery - with the matter raised in "Uncle Bobby's Wedding". Acts contrary to the natural law are not condoned in traditional fairytales but in fact the tale itself exists to denounce them.

The modern understanding of the word "liberty" is perverse. "Liberty" has no meaning at all if we employ the common opinion that it is "to do and say whatever one wishes".

"Liberty" only has meaning when allied to an understanding of Right from Wrong. Indeed it is the "capacity to do the good". The ignorant man is enslaved to his ignorance. The 'free' man is empowered and can distinguish right from wrong. Hence, "The Truth will set you free".

Modern American society has fatal misunderstandings of what the Founding Fathers meant by word "Liberty". (French Renaissance philosophers are largely to blame).

I welcome your remarks - as there is more to say.

Franz Forrester

Jamie said...

Franz: Thanks for your comments. Not quite sure what your point is. Libraries do have many rational criteria for book selections, as is discussed in several places throughout the comments. "Right reason" you don't define at all. Your comments about fairy tales deal with only a small part of that literature. "Natural law" you also leave undefined. "Liberty," like most big concepts in our language, has a host of definitions, but I've never seen yours before ("capacity to do good"). The etymological roots seem to suggest it has more to do with "growth" than "truth."

And finally, I would beg to differ that there was anything fatal about my decision. No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog. :)

Dan said...

As a

1) Librarian
2) Christian (PCA)
3) Married heterosexual
4) Someone who believes that homosexuality goes against God's will for proper sexual human relationships...

This letter was AWESOME. Thank you Jamie, for writing such a well-reasoned and literate defense of the purpose of Libraries. Perhaps Kurt Vonnegut said it best when he said that "If you are an American, you must allow all ideas to circulate freely in your community, not merely your own."

Alice said...

I just found this blog today and I must say, your letter was so brilliant. Besides being thoughful and resectful, you made it a lesson about the needs of a diverse community. My favorite part is where you tell her you wrote a book about the very thing she is complaining about. I would have just told her to f*** off. I want to be more like you.

TrogL said...

Just a head's up, you got linked from Huffington Post so you're probably going to have a fresh batch of visitors.

Excellent discussion that I'm going to use in an upcoming debate on gay marriage.

Ruthann said...

What a wonderful letter. I have never understood the banning of books. Books are there to challenge you, get you to ask questions, teach you about life, guide you and so much more. They can be a dream between covers for a child or even an adult. They make you laugh, cry, lose yourself, and yes some bore you to tears. They should never be banned.

HappyGirl said...

There's not much to add that's original at this point -- not even the observation that there's not much to add that's original -- but bravo, sir. This well-reasoned, beautifully written letter is an inspiration.

I have to admit to feeling a bit sorry for the complaintant, who surely has missed out on other resources through which she could teach her daughter about relevant universal themes because of details she considers objectionable. "I'd love to show you the forest, honey, but all the dang trees are in the way." Closed-mindedness is a sad, frustrating reality. It's good to know there are folks like you who can meet it with patience, intelligence, and grace.

Jamie said...

Thanks, HappyGirl. I prefer to think of it this way: I like that a mom takes her child to the library, pays attention to what we offer, and is willing to talk about it. I think that's what exploration is about. Sometimes you find stuff that makes you uncomfortable. But if you notice and talk about it, you not only learn something yourself, but help others learn, too. In short, it's a recipe for growth. That's a good thing, right?

Unknown said...

Just spent the evening reading all the comments that follow your excellent letter. I followed a link from HuffPost entitled 16 Books Challenged For LGBT Content.

Shauntia Boysaw said...

2013 and this blog is still being cited in major news outlets....linked from Huffington Post. Well done.

Daniel Hauff said...

This is such a wonderful, thoughtful, and backed up letter, Mr. Jamie. Thank you for taking the time to do the topic justice. I am impressed by your extremely kind words.

Daniel Hauff said...

And in response to Franz's diatribe, I cannot get past the part where you used the word "natural" apparently completely ignoring the very natural aspects of the rest of the animal kingdom which would be in support of gayness (generally speaking) given other species also engage in homosexual (and so forth) intercourse. Of course, it's nothing less than grotesque that people go around thinking about those they find different than themselves "having sex" anyway. I certainly do not walk the streets imagining the opposite.

Naery said...

As a new resident to Douglas County, and as a father to two young girls who thoroughly enjoy activities at the Parker Library, I wanted to thank you for sharing this. Your letter very graciously and gracefully states her objections and you very kindly addressed each of them. I learned a lot about the Douglas County library system from this reply, and it makes me proud to be a Douglas County resident. Proud, not because I agree with the pro-gay tones of the book (though I don't disagree with them, either), but because this shows that at least one Douglas County official is willing to listen and respond to constituent concerns. I can only hope that Douglas County Mayors and City Councils take the same calm, reasoned, principled, approachable tack that you've taken.

Jamie said...

Thanks to those of you who posted more recently. I've learned that there are many things about which people will never agree. But it isn't the job of the library to force the consensus. We just reflect the conversation. Thanks, all, for dropping by and adding your thoughts.

RJ said...

It's now 2014 and I just found this link while looking at Huffpost(well, "just" could be considered a fluid term, as that was an hour, hour and a half ago), and I have to say the letter, the rationality, the commentary from just about everyone on the page here... it's certainly a surprise, and refreshing. There will naturally be a few vehement disagreements, but the "comment section revulsion" one normally gets these days wasn't even close to present. I had plenty of claps, cheers, fistpumps, plus a few facepalms mixed in for good measure. Few things are as beautiful as a writer's intellect and insight. Thank you for posting this, and I'm going to be sure to share this with other folks so it can continue to be appreciated and passed on to others to be appreciated. Bravo to you. =o)

ushoes2014 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Neal Schlein said...

I'm sure you thought this had died out, but here is a message from a children's librarian working in a conservative Illinois town: you are still being read, and despite the Supreme Court's recent decision this matter is still in play.

A few weeks ago we had a chapter book informally challenged for similar reasons as Uncle Bobby's Wedding. The parent mainly wished to express surprise and concern at learning of the content from a daughter--content which, I admit, was not indicated in the summary. The objection never went beyond a verbal complaint. The parent didn't want it removed, and eventually decided that avoiding all objectionable content will simply require homeschooling and pre-screening of all books.

I wish I had read your letter before speaking to the parent (I was out of town for the original complaint). Our conversation was polite and constructive, but it could have been even better if I'd thought to suggest that the family's values had been successfully instilled! Sheer brilliance.

The other thing I'd like to note (and I know that few will actually read this, especially at this date) is that I have to laugh at those who take seriously the statements that professional librarians would be actively rude when faced with this kind of challenge. No, they wouldn't! They might not respond as eloquently and thoughtfully as this, but by and large they'd handle it like professionals because that is what we are.

Cheers from a fellow professional.

Jamie said...

Thank you, Neal. I appreciate the kind words. Sadly, I have witnessed conversations between librarians and distraught patrons that did border on rudeness. The cause? Over-defensiveness. Combined with over-protectiveness of parents, we get a situation where everybody stops listening. My belief: librarians and parents are on the same side, not different ones. All of us want the child to thrive. And, in the end, we all want to be treated with respect.

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