Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's a tactic . . .

. . . but I can't say it's one that makes a lot of sense to me.

A woman in Maine has checked out two copies of the popular sex-ed book It's Perfectly Normal and has refused to return them. Read this Boston Globe article for the complete story. Here's her plan, in her own words:

"Hopefully, this will harness enough people to be sufficiently horrified and and want to speak out, to say it's gone too far."
The library even has a policy and procedure for citizens who want to challenge books. Apparently that wasn't dramatic enough.

Lots of people have blogged this already, and I don't have a ton to add (this is a silly, ineffective, tactic, etc. etc.), but I think it is worth pointing out that Flux's parent company is Llewellyn Worldwide, a company whose bread and butter is Wicca, paganism, magic, and other alternative spirituality books. It's received wisdom around here that Llewellyn titles are among the most frequently stolen books in libraries. Whether the thieves are people like this woman from Maine or people legitimately interested in the books but, for whatever reason, not interested in checking them out legitimately, I don't know. But Llewellyn has been around for over 100 years. The company just bought a new building. It's going strong. No one here is listening to anyone saying "you've gone to far." There's no evidence of a groundswell of people who are "sufficiently horrified."

If anything, people around here and, I think, people in the book business in general are energized by the notion that what we do has value precisely because there are people out there who feel so strongly that it doesn't. This is why this tactic does not work.


Micol Ostow said...

One wonders what someone like that is even doing in a library to begin with.

Sam Hranac said...

RE: Wicca (and a bit off topic)... I've been studying healing energy and boundaries lately and have been fascinated by how the most interesting books to read make use of energy patterns and boundary interactions in their characters, perhaps without even knowing it - certainly without being blatant.

Sex and energy/spirituality are a part of us, like fingers and lips. We all have work to do to get better at using all of them. This lady, stealing books (hey! I'm almost on topic!), has some definite boundary work to do.