Please VOTE DAVID on April 2

Should Books Be Banned in School Libraries?

Clearly this is a hot topic in society right now, such that some parents want their children exposed to certain genres of books while other parents oppose such unregulated exposure in school.  And unfortunately, the phrase “book banning” is highly charged, evokes strong emotions, and is being promoted by some to drive a wedge among Lindbergh District’s families. This is unfortunate.

I do not support the banning of books in our society – full stop. I believe the free exchange of ideas, even those I disagree with, is beneficial and a requisite part of our democracy. I do not think it is beneficial, however, to frame the discussion of schools’ libraries in terms of book banning. The focus should be on the allocation of limited resources and the educational value of those resources. The limited resources available to Lindbergh libraries should be spent on purchasing books and electronic resources that are directly aligned with the students’ education. This is because there are neither unlimited financial resources from taxpayers nor sufficient space to house all books in Lindbergh libraries; consequently, the vast majority of published books cannot be housed in the schools’ libraries.

This does not mean those books are banned. If that was true, then all of us are banning books in our own homes by not buying millions of books. Fortunately, many books beyond those in the schools’ libraries, including socially contentious books, are available in the three St. Louis County libraries located in, or immediately adjacent to, the District’s boundary (Grants View, Oak Bend, Meramec Valley).  These libraries’ books and electronic resources are available to all District families, and the genres of books that are proving contentious in school libraries can be found in these libraries. In addition, books can be purchased online. When I decided to run for the school board last fall, I purchased online two books that were/are at the epicenter of political discord. They were not expensive and arrived at my house within one week. Thus, it is a lie to say these books are banned; they are not. After reviewing both books, I was very dismayed that they had been purchased by the District for inclusion in its library(ies). And I imagine most others in the District would feel the same once they review the books. Better choices can and should be made by the District.