Saturday, March 04, 2006

library stuff

In thinking about book banning/removal, I’m sadly aware that if push ever came to shove at “my” library, I’d have no say beyond being a concerned parent. Despite the hours I put in, I’m not an employee… just a dad. Now, I don’t sense our current community would get irrationally up in arms about a book, but I’m sure over time the issue will arise. I’ll hope that our board and families will do the right thing. But I'm sure I'd be mighty vocal even if I no longer had a child at the school.

I do have to add, however, that I have personally removed books from our library using my executive privilege (which exists largely cuz I know the software really well, and I know the collection). In our rush to get books on the shelves right before we opened, there were a few boxes of donations that I didn’t get a total chance to go through, and which were scanned and shelved speedily. So, I have pulled Steven King, Tom Clancy, and the best find of all: a book of menopause humor! Every elementary school library should have one, don’t you think?

And since I'm on the subject of the library, here were this week’s read-alouds…

The Greentail Mouse and Inch by Inch, both by Leo Lionni
Julio’s Magic – Arthur Dorros. Illustrations by Ann Grifalconi
Rainbabies – Laura Krauss Melmed. Illustrations by Jim LaMarche


Liz B said...

Isn't it amazing what people will donate to a library? All to often "donate" is code for "dumping stuff I don't want." Have you had to deal with icky books yet? Someone just left us a box of moldy books.

Especially since you're dealing with donations and volunteer staff, here's a link you may not know about: "Weed Of the Month" at

They highlight different nonfiction areas for currency (so that you don't inadvertently have one of those books that say "one day, man may land on the moon".)

Greg Pincus said...

Yes, Liz, it is remarkable what folks will hand over. I am partial to the workbooks with all pages already filled in. Half used sticker books are excellent as well. And mold is my friend. That said, we got some utterly remarkable donations (An edition of Leonore Klein's Henri's Walk to Paris with art by Saul Bass! A signed Polka-Bats and on and on)

We have given well over 1000 "unsuitable" books to other charities ourselves (at one point I thought we could give every pre-school in LA at least one Boynton book, if not two). We've found places who will take damaged books to use for art projects. We've found charities who sell them. And yes, we've thrown things out.

Thanks for "Weed of the Month." We sooooo need a true librarian, but for now, we do what we can (including, I'm excited to say, spine labelling every book). But I'm glad you came by, cuz now I'll call ya when we start weeding!

Anonymous said...

As far as book banning/removal goes, every library should have a written policy in place for dealing with such requests. A search on google for materials selection policy yields many examples. The American Library Association has a good explanation of why and how here:

Anonymous said...

Hi Gregory K,
After about a 5 year hunt for Leonore Kleins 'Henri's walk to paris' (I am a graphic designer, and a massive fan of Saul Bass, with an SB poster collection), I was doing my bi monthly search online for the book and came across your post. Would you by any chance be willing to sell the book - that said, i'm not rich and the last time i saw it on ebay it was for around £90 (i think thats about $160). i'm sorry if this is not the place to do this, i got a little excited. i live in edinburgh, in scotland, please post if you're interested or not and we can get in touch. thank you, t.mac.

Greg Pincus said...

T. Mac -- At the moment, the library isn't selling any of its books, so I can't help ya. Who knows what the future holds, however. You can find my email in my profile, as that's a better way to get in touch, though obviously I found you here, too!