Gatekeeping, Censorship, and Prioritizing Student Need

NErdcampmi definitely gave me dozens of new ideas to ponder, as well as about a hundred new books to read. The one idea that has become a brain worm, though is the idea of gatekeeping and that by not purchasing certain books we school librarians are practicing censorship. My first thought was, “Wait, I only have a limited amount of money. I have to buy the things that support curriculum first.” As I got over my defensive reaction and really settled into the question, I realized many of my purchasing choices are knee jerk reactions to curriculum guides and administrator comments. I am afraid I have not been keeping the proper focus in my collection development. That focus should be on the needs of students. Have I bypassed books that would help struggling students find a character who is like them in order to buy another STEAM book? Have I forgotten the pure joy of fun, silly books because I am so curriculum driven? I am afraid that the answer is yes. I resolve to focus more clearly on students, who are after all, children and not test scores, as I make decisions about my school libraries.


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