LIS Graduates Prepared for the Ship of Censor

Disclaimer: This post contains solely the author’s opinions and does not reflect Liblime or its affiliates. 


This past week, Library Journal magazine published an article about if new LIS graduates are well-prepared for their potential future roles. It’s a well-written article that brought to light the reality of the limits of LIS programs. Part of the problem is the challenges faced on the job. As stated by the article author, “librarians are seeing a sharp increase in conflict around the work they have been trained to do.” This refers to massive efforts of special interest groups who fight hard to remove books they deem “inappropriate” from the shelves of public libraries. Library courses don’t necessarily cover the best methodologies for dealing with mass censorship and the fallout of catering to (or not) the demands of infuriated patrons. 

Addressing this matter of dealing with censorship, Emily Drabinski, ALA president from 23-24, states, “One universal demand that can be made of LIS programs… is to provide students with an analytic framework in critical librarianship, an understanding of the structures that produce the conditions under which librarians work. Graduate instruction can help students understand that these fights will inevitably come and that librarians will inevitably be on the front lines as the position involves working for one of the nation’s last publicly funded institutions.” She’

s absolutely right, though. Current and future librarians need to understand where and how the deep-rooted ambitions for censoring books come to be.

The article also points out that most censorship happens on a local level, where a group of people feels so strongly that a book shouldn’t be available to their child they storm the proverbial keep and demand it not be available to any child ever. As a parent, I can certainly sympathize with this, but I would not want any other parent to decide what my child should or shouldn’t read, so what would give me the right to do the same to theirs? Regardless of personal opinion, fresh LIS graduates will need to know how to deal with being on the front lines of this battle, especially if they are planning to become directors or heads of collection development. I will address this matter more in-depth in a new post to be published in the next two weeks.