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The emergence of the Clean Reader app has launched a lot of discussion about computers, text manipulation, free speech, and the rights of readers. I guess it also raises the issue of political correctness in this age of culture warriors. I mean, is it more correct to side with writers, whose works stand as written, or with readers, the folks who purchase and consume those works?
On the other hand, could the Clean Reader app give students access to books that are currently banned?
What do YOU think about this controversial new reading tool?
Classroom teachers and library media specialists face different dilemmas and options. A classroom teacher selects materials to help students develop a prescribed set of skills and knowledge base, and students may not have the option to exercise personal choice. While I may not agree with a teacher's decision to "clean" a text, that is his or her responsibility to make the best decision based on professional judgment and understanding of students' needs. Library media specialists, on the other hand, have a responsibility to select materials to meet the needs of all patrons, and to uphold our patrons' freedom to read. If particular books fail to meet a library's selection policy, so be it. However, no book should ever selected and then censored.
I think this app is a violation of all of the principles of intellectual freedom that we as educators should stand up for.
The Clean Reader App will not give students access to books that are currently banned because they are not the book the author intended.
This is the notice I put on my library web page. I think it is applicable for all books, including e-books. If a reader is not ready for a particular book as it is written, they can choose a different one.
In a library that serves students ranging in ages from eleven to fourteen, a wide variety of materials are needed. What is interesting and appropriate for eleven-year-olds may not be interesting and/or appropriate for fourteen-year-olds and vice versa. When students first visit the library each year, Mrs. Parks will tell them that "Libraries are all about choice. If you choose a book that makes you uncomfortable or that would make your parents uncomfortable, please return it and find a book you can completely enjoy."
Parents can help students enjoy the library. Ask students what they are reading and talk to them about their choice.
This is censorship, pure and simple. I totally understand the need to shield young people from age inappropriate thoughts and ideas but this app takes all the responsibility off parents and that, fellow citizens of a free world, is where the problem begins. We all have the right to keep our own children from material offensive to our family values and morals, but nobody has the right to do that for anyone else.