In the wake of rising public awareness about overtly sexual books in Mat-Su school libraries, the Mat-Su School District is taking steps to both remove problematic books and ensure they don’t crop up in the future.
Following a controversial school book fair at Teeland Middle School coupled with news about scores of sexual books embedded across dozens of school libraries, the school district has been reviewing library collection policies and individual books to make sure all materials support school curriculum and do not violate Alaska statute against exposing children to indecent sexual content and images. Additionally, a Library Advisory Committee was convened to review existing collections policies and to gather information about specific library book concerns. The district is also in the process of revising its library procedures.
On March 29, the district held a principals meeting to address community concerns as they relate to libraries. That same day, a meeting with district librarians also occurred.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
On April 13, the district released a Frequently Asked Questions sheet concerning libraries (read it here) and also published an application for parents and community members who wish to serve on a new district-wide Library Committee. Members will serve as representatives of the larger community in evaluating specific books brought forth by parents and others to determine whether the books have educational or literary value and do not violate state laws.
Those interested in serving on this committee should submit a completed application (linked here) no later than noon on Friday, April 21. A description outlining the expectations of committee members is included in the application. The committee will be comprised of parents, community members, school board members, local librarians and certified professionals.