A national library network that encourages librarians to push scandalous books to children without parental knowledge has scores of Alaska librarians within its ranks.
Library 2.0 is a massive organization that includes thousands of librarians from across the nation and around the world. It offers free, large-scale, online training events, workshops and conferences.
Over the past couple of years, the network has focused intently on helping librarians deal with controversial book challenges and concerned parents by advising librarians on how to get objectionable material into the hands of children despite parental and community protests.
A number of its upcoming webinars focus on “challenging patrons,” “tense situations,” “diversity, equity and inclusion,” “awkward conversations,” and dealing with difficult patrons.
Last month, as reported by AmericanWireNews.com, Library 2.0 held a “Banned Books and Censorship” conference with instructor Valerie Byrd Fort, who offered librarians advice on handling parental objections to LGTBQ content. Her tips included instructing librarians to keep “identity” labels — “LGTBQIA+” or “Gays Fiction” — off of books so parents won’t discover what they contain.
“Don’t label the books with identity-based subject headings like ‘LGBTQIA+’ or ‘Gays Fiction,’” Fort said during her talk. “Aside from being bad practice, it makes it too easy for parents or community members to find those kinds of books … Don’t make it hard for those necessarily easy for those groups to find, but make it easy for those who want the books. The examples here are to create ways for students to find these books by offering a physical list they can look at while they are in the library.”
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She advised librarians to create reading lists that could be accessed digitally for students using a username. That would make it more difficult, she reasoned, for the wider community to discover and challenge controversial books.
Fort suggested offering “privacy covers” on books to help children conceal their subject matter.
A quick search of the Library 2.0 website revealed scores of Alaska-based librarians, library aids and teachers – both past and present – who are members of the organization. This includes major urban centers in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Mat-Su, the Kenai Peninsula and Juneau, as well as more rural locations like Ketchikan, Sitka and other communities.
The issue of inappropriate books being disseminated in school libraries has stirred intense debate and public outcry across Alaska and the nation, as librarians continue to push highly sexualized and pornographic material to children.
— To find out whether your local librarians are part of the Library 2.0 network, click this link and type in the name of your community in the search bar at the upper righthand corner of the website.