Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Wrong Approach

LISNews reports that the Miami-Dade school board has voted to remove a book painting an absurdly glowing portrait of life in Communist Cuba from county school libraries. According to the Miami Herald, the vote was in response to a complaint by a Cuban-American resident who spent time as a political prisoner in Castro's gulag.

I am deeply sympathetic to the concerns behind this complaint. Anyone who has read this blog will know my deep loathing for Fidel Castro's totalitarian police state. However, having the book in question pulled from school libraries is wrong. Having justifiably condemned the Cuban regime for its thoroughgoing censorship, we can hardly resort to censoring pro-Castro ideas, no matter how offensive we find them. The proper response to finding such a book in school libraries is to work to ensure that those libraries also have books that tell the truth about the nature of Castro's Cuba.


Blogger Norma said...

I agree.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking as another Staunchly (not "moderate", mind you) Conservative Librarian, located here an academic library here in South Florida, I totally support the actions of the Miami-Dade board to remove this book from its collection. While I have read the book in question and don't see it as government inspired propaganda, I can certainly see how many here in South Florida can view its depictions of life in Cuba as very misleading. As one of the few pro-censorship librarians in the country, I think that it is within the rights of this board (and also within the Library's Acquisitions or Collection Development department, for that matter) to determine which books their collection should or should not contain. There is no "ban" on this book- only a removal from its collection. Anyone who truly wants this book can very easily obtain it from a publisher or other library. Are we saying here that libraries don't have the right to both select and manage their collections? The removal of a book from a collection tantamount to an infringement of our 1st amendment liberties- it is an affirmation of it. If you say otherwise, you are accusing collections librarians of censorship anytime one doesn't choose a book for purchase or removes one from a collection.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My previous comment above should read "is not" tantamount".

4:49 PM  

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