• Victory in sight!

    11 April 2012

    I received a follow-up email today from the librarian in Wyoming who had been challenged by a parent who demanded the withdrawal of Lord Loss from the bookshelves (see my blog of February 3rd for the full story).

     

    We had our third committee meeting yesterday concerning the book challenge. This committee was comprised of the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum for our school district, the Director of Instruction for our school district, the Language Arts Coordinator for our school district, the Associate Principal for our school, two students from our school, a 5th and 6th grade teacher from two Elementary Schools in our district, a Librarian from one of the High Schools in our district, and 2 parents with kids from various schools in our district. The meeting lasted about an hour with everyone telling of their role in the district as well as their input about the book. We had multiple Librarians from schools in our district, the Young Adult Librarian from our county Library, as well as the parent challenging the book, in our audience. The 11 people on the committee voted unanimously to keep the book in our school library. The parent has the option to take his challenge to the last level, which is the Superintendent of our school district. We will let you know if he takes it to the last level. At this point, your book, Lord Loss, is still safe and able to be checked out by our students.

     

    I was delighted when I read this. It was so heartening to find so many people ready to stand up and argue the book's case. Although at the same time I felt it was a shame than one lone parent could create this much of a fuss -- in an ideal world, I think librarians should have the power to stock their shelves with the books that they deem fit. A good librarian will have studied hard, worked hard, and spent a lot of time talking with and listening to and helping shape the minds of a huge variety of children, and their judgement should be trusted. While every parent should of course have the right to question a librarian's judgement, I don't think they should have the right to openly challenge it, especially not if they're in the vast minority, and especially if it's a one-off case. But, that being said, it was great to see democracy at work, and the various forces of reason and commonsense banding together to reject the bullying parent who had been trying to make the system bend to his wishes. I just hope now that the Superintendent -- if the parent chooses to push this all the way -- respects the voices of all the people who have spoken up in support of Lord Loss, rather than the loud-mouthed agitator who (without even reading it) has demanded its withdrawl. Long live the democratic process!!!!!

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  • Comments

    No Avatar Kathryn Winstanley
    11, Apr, 2012
    Hi, Darren :)

    I can't understand why he would want it to be removed, considering that he hasn't even taken the time to read it, how can he judge it? It's such an amazing, exciting, gripping book. I can't see how that could ever be a bad thing.

    Hope you're well, Mr. Shan. Take care :)

    From your big fan, Kathryn Winstanley.
    No Avatar Michelle
    11, Apr, 2012
    I am still not sure if your books are age appropriate for my daughter! But I haven't read one yet. All I know is she loves reading them is looking forward to book four of Larten Crepsley. She really enjoyed your talk at the Edinburgh book festival last year and getting you to sign her book.
    More power to your pen.
    No Avatar Celeste Kennedy
    12, Apr, 2012
    I love a good fight...but not of this variety. I love the fight, or should I say challenge, of getting a teen to find a book that he feels is more worthy of his time than a video game or website. I love the challenge of taking a non-reading teen over to the stacks and proving to them that yes, there is a book here that will interest you and yes, there's more to young adult books than what your teachers tell you HAVE to read. I love the challenge of ordering books every other month that will draw teens to the shelves and get them nose down in a story that is so good they are bugging the hell out of me for when the next one in the series comes out. Books don't instill the values in a child... a good parent does. Maybe this parent needs to focus on his job and let us librarians do ours. And remember: "A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone."
    - Jo Godwin
    No Avatar Amelia Turner
    12, Apr, 2012
    I think this man might be envious of you because you have such an amazing talent and I really think we should feel sorry for him because he clearly has nothing better to do than to cause pointless drama. He should be grateful that his child is reading because not many kids these days enjoy reading. Clearly this man is going to lose this battle.
    No Avatar Hawksathon
    13, Apr, 2012
    It raises questions about who spends more time with the child in question, the school staff or the parent?
    No Avatar KS
    17, Apr, 2012
    Most parents won't take the time to try and read the books that their children are reading, and it's understandable why some parents may feel alarmed about books such as Lord Loss, which's cover (in my opinion) look demonic to me.

    However, as someone having read the entire Lord Loss series as well as the Cirque du Freak series (which I enjoyed very much), I agree with the library committee's decision to hold on to your books...They have a much deeper level of profundity than do other books with seemingly similar plots...

    In other words, keep writing, good sir.

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