We all have First Amendment rights, but does that include children?
Most of the challenges to the materials and services in libraries are launched by parents, and usually to protect children (some as old as 17) from precisely the things that interest them most. So what does that mean for the minors? What freedom do they have to read, view, and check out the materials they want? For the most part, librarians advocate for teens' rights, but there are still stories that we hear about labeling books, or limiting access based on grade, restricted shelves, and permission slips. This is sometimes defined as "soft censorship."
Our speakers will explore how those rights can be protected and respected, and take a closer look at the rights of parents, teachers, and library staff who are concerned about age-appropriate materials.
Inspiration and motivation from one of the most controversial and frequently challenged teen authors
Definition and discussion of soft censorship
Information about the Office for Intellectual Freedom and the numbers around the children's and teen's books being challenged
Familiarity with the interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights that are relevant to minors
Clear understanding of specific legal terms that are often misused:
Chris Crutcher’s years as teacher, then director, of a K-12 alternative school in Oakland, California through the nineteen-seventies, and his subsequent twenty-odd years as a therapist specializing in child abuse and neglect, inform his thirteen novels and two collections of short stories. “I have forever been intrigued by the extremes of the human condition,” he says, “the remarkable juxtaposition of the ghastly and the glorious. As Eric ‘Moby’ Calhoun tells us at the conclusion of Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, ‘Ain’t it a trip where heroes come from’.” He has also written what he calls an ill-advised autobiography titled King of the Mild Frontier, which was designated by “Publisher’s Weekly” as “the YA book most adults would have read if they knew it existed.”
Chris has received a number of coveted awards, from his high school designation as “Most Likely to Plagiarize” to the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award. His favorites are his two Intellectual Freedom awards, one from the National Council for Teachers of English and the other from the National Coalition Against Censorship. Five of Crutcher’s books appeared on an American Library Association list of the 100 Best Books for Teens of the Twentieth Century (1999 to 2000). A recent NPR list of the Best 100 YA and Children’s books included none of those titles.
The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) is a non-profit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association (http://www.ala.org/) . FTRF protects and defends the First Amendment to the Constitution and supports the right of libraries to collect - and individuals to access - information.