Banned books usually make us think of inappropriate library materials at middle schools, maybe intense subject matter at high schools. Yet one would think a library on a college campus is immune; after all, this is where free thinking is encouraged.
That’s why I was surprised last spring when a patron demanded that the Billington Library ban a book. The book, Mapplethorpe, contained nude images along with other photographs.
She complained that children shouldn’t have acess to it.I urged her to put that in our suggestion box.
But what I really wanted to say was, “Hello? Earth to crazy lady: this is a college library not childrens’ story hour at Borders.”
Materials at college libraries differs from those at public libraries because our primary charge is to provide materials that support courses. That matierial provide is selected to provoke thought, expand minds and facilitate discussions. Librarians work with instructors to procure material that enhances the required and suggested texts students purchase.
Sometimes that material is ugly, violent, sacrilegious or even naked.
If you can’t find material in a college library that offends you, then they aren’t doing their jobs.