In the fall of 2008, I wrote two articles describing how absurdly imbalanced public high school book collections are on the topic of homosexuality. I mentioned in those two articles that Deerfield High School had approximately 65 books that espouse liberal views on homosexuality and not one that espouses conservative views. At New Trier High school in Winnetka, it's even worse: it's approximately 120 liberal books to 0 conservative.
Now the organization "Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays" (PFOX) has issued a press release taking a West Bend, Wisconsin library to task for its refusal to include in its book collection any books written by or about men and women who have decided no longer to engage in homosexual acts or identify as homosexuals, while at the same time carrying numerous books that espouse positive views of homosexuality:
"Despite public opposition, the West Bend Community Memorial Library continues to stock gay books for children and teens while neglecting books by ex-gay authors.
"Many of the gay books promote homosexual behavior to youth and are the subject of protests by concerned parents, whose request to have the books moved to the adult section were denied.
"'Our requests that the Library balance some of its homosexual material for children with material written by ex-gays or with a heterosexual slant have been ignored,' said Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX).
"'Apparently, the West Bend Community Memorial Library is not interested in diversity,' said Griggs. . . . According to its own policy, the Library has a 'professional responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive, in developing collections.'
"'For a library to provide children's books which promote homosexuality while denying ex-gay books smacks of censorship and indoctrination of youth with a one-sided ideology,' said Griggs."
Furthermore, PFOX is asking the American Library Association (ALA) to condemn the violation of ALA principles that such censorship represents. There are two chances of that happening: slim and fat.
In July 2009, the American Library Association held its annual convention right here in Chicago. It might surprise IFI readers to learn that one of the pressing issues addressed at this convention for librarians was same-sex marriage. This issue is of such pressing concern to the ALA that a resolution was put forward that has the ALA formally endorsing same-sex marriage. I hope this disabuses the naïve among us of the delusion that the ALA is an unbiased, politically neutral organization committed to providing "leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all."
Here is a "must-read" article about the event from the delightfully sardonic "Annoyed Librarian" who wrote about the resolution in his or her blog post "ALA 2009: ALA Council and Same Sex Marriage."
ALA ideologues are prepared to defend their de facto censorship practices. Their defense centers around their "Collection Development Policies" (CDP's). The term sounds so stupefyingly boring that no one thinks to look closely at them and how they actually affect library book collections--but we should.
Fortunately, two university librarians have provided cynical, saucy, and trenchant analyses of CDP's which you can read here and here.
It's not just the ALA whose bias is showing. A cursory look at the ideological biases of those who publish, review, and recommend books to school libraries and who sit on award committees will illuminate why such imbalances exist at virtually all public school and community libraries.
Secular publishing companies are largely staffed by liberals. Schools of education and departments of library science are notoriously liberal. Organizations that review and recommend books are notoriously liberal. And committees that award literary prizes are largely composed of individuals who hold liberal views on social issues, including homosexuality.
These various groups, along with English departments in colleges, universities, and high schools, are embarrassingly hypocritical when it comes to their public statements about intellectual freedom and diversity. When it comes to the topic of homosexuality, they are intellectually incestuous, politically motivated, narrow-minded, intolerant censors.
Through its de facto censorship mechanism, cunningly obscured behind the sterile nomenclature "Collection Development Policy," the American Library Association has become a corrupt, hypocritical organization committed to promulgating biased, subversive social and political views on the controversial topic of homosexuality. On this topic one thing's certain: if you're looking for intellectual diversity, stay out of your libraries.