Give ’em What They Want!

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I believe in the power of reading to transform a life. This transformation can come from many different types of books and sometimes from books that many people might consider trash or unworthy of being read. There is a long history in public libraries of librarians trying to keep commonplace fiction off the shelves so people would be forced to read “quality” literature.

In 1992, revolutionary Library Director Charles Robinson said this, “We are always somewhat bemused by librarians who underestimate, or at least misjudge, the tastes of the public they serve. Our users are very often quite different from the kind of people who become librarians, and placing value judgements on other people’s interests and reading is certainly a violation of the intellectual freedom which librarians profess to hold so dear.”* 

In other words, give them what they want and don’t judge. That one romance or western might not lead to transformation but over time, the power of storytelling and imagination will.

 

*Blue Ribbon Committee. Baltimore County Public Library, Give ‘Em What They Want! (Chicago: American Library Association, 1992), pp. 5-6

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