There are all sorts of library stories lately.
There’s this discrimination case in Michigan, where a retired librarian is suing her former library for discrimination against her while she was an employee.
But while she claims discrimination, the library administration claims they “received a steady stream of complaints about how [she] treated patrons, particularly children. She was accused of pulling a sucker from a child’s mouth, treating kids harshly and even taking a stuffed animal from a child.”
Which makes me wonder if discrimination is as easy as taking candy from a baby. There was probably shushing involved.
Or this unfortunate story from Canada, where the University of Saskatchewan is closing four of its seven libraries, but they won’t yet “say how many jobs will be cut during the process.” Hard times.
“Another brief proposes the amalgamation of women’s and gender studies, philosophy, modern languages and religion and culture departments in the College of Arts and Science,” because those are all going to play so well together.
But I still don’t know how I missed this story until someone mentioned it in the comments earlier this week. You’re probably sick to death of hearing about people calling the police to prevent teenagers from distributing free copies of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, but I’m just hearing of it.
If this is typical behavior for Meridian, Idaho, then Meridian, Idaho is weird.
The book was challenged at a high school as being inappropriate for 10th graders, because there’s sex or something in it, and if there’s one thing that 15-year-olds never hear or see anything about, it’s sex.
“Others say the book is anti-Christian.” I wouldn’t know as I haven’t read it. But given the way so-called Christians have treated Native Americans throughout most of American history, it wouldn’t surprise me. Maybe the offended Christians shouldn’t be casting any stones here.
So the school took it off the reading list for now, which prompted one of the high school students to get 350 free copies from the publisher and distribute them in a local park.
And that’s when things got weird.
“After about an hour of Kissel passing out books to teenagers, Meridian police showed up. They said they had been called out by someone concerned about teenagers picking up a copy of the book without having a parent’s permission.”
It’s one thing to embarrass your high school aged children by making a fuss over a book being on a tenth grade reading list that’s probably tamer than anything they’re looking at online.
But imagining embarrassing your children by being stupid enough to think giving away free YA books was a crime.
What goes on in the minds of people like that? And why are those people having children?
The situation is almost like a typical children’s book where the adults are hapless and the children have to fix problems themselves. If I’d had a little more caffeine before writing this, I’d probably have found it inspiring.
The police showed up and were a little baffled. Perhaps they were told that some teenagers were “distributing” in the park and thought they’d find a gang of drug dealers instead of a gang of mainstream YA novel dealers.
The bad thing for Meridian, Idaho is it’s where the fringe crazies call the police on hard core book dealers.
The good thing for Meridian, Idaho is it’s where they have high school kids who do stuff like this.
Some people weep for the future, but in this situation, I shake my puzzled head for the past and look forward to the future.