Suffolk County librarians have it easier when it comes to books than their colleagues elsewhere.

Suffolk County librarians have it easier when it comes to books than their colleagues elsewhere

Despite widespread criticism of librarians for their selection of materials, Suffolk County libraries have seen few issues.

According to a recent New York Times article headlined “With Rising Book Bans, Librarians Have Come Under Attack,” librarians around the United States have found themselves on the front lines of book banning efforts, sometimes being publicly or socially mocked. Due to arguments about the removal of books from library shelves, several employees have resigned or been terminated.

A recent dispute involving a library on Suffolk County’s North Shore centered on a Pride Month display including books from The Smithtown Library’s children’s division. The library board trustees of the Smithtown, Commack, Kings Park, and Nesconset branches voted 4-2, with one trustee absent, on June 21 to remove pride displays, including signs and books, from the children’s sections. According to a small number of trustees, they decided to remove the displays after receiving customer complaints about certain products. Two days later, the board convened an emergency meeting and, by a vote of 4-2 with one member abstaining, reversed its previous decision.

In response to social media outrage from the community, Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, and the New York Library Association, the decision was made. Following their first decision, the board received a large number of communications.

The Suffolk Cooperative Library System is an organization that helps county public libraries provide traditional and innovative services to its patrons.

According to Derek Ivie, coordinator of youth services for the SCLS, the local system’s libraries have not received as many book-related complaints as libraries in other parts of the nation, notably regarding LGBTQ+ and social justice books.

Ivie said, “Nationally and even in other sections of the state of New York, the situation is notably different.” “Colleagues in other New York library systems have related anecdotes in which users have complained about certain books. Therefore, although it is not occurring locally, it is occurring in other areas of our county.”

Ted Gutmann, director of the Emma S. Clark Memorial Library in Setauket for more than a decade, said that he is only aware of a small number of complaints about books or other resources. He remarked that the content’s causes and topics are distinct. The most recent complaint, according to the director, concerned a video in the adult section.

Debra Engelhardt, the director of the Comsewogue Public Library, said that no customer has ever filed a formal complaint criticizing library publications or exhibits in her ten years as director. On the library’s website, you may access a form, similar to those found in many other libraries. According to her, people sometimes remark or ask staff questions regarding the various displays shown over the year.

“Some are more negative than others, but with each one we have the chance to engage a community member in dialogue and assist them better understand why we’re here and what we do,” Engelhardt said.

Education and selection/p>Users may meet library pages, clerks, or employees seeking a career as librarians who do not hold a specialized degree; nonetheless, according to Ivie, a librarian is a staff member who has earned a master’s degree in library sciences.

According to him, the majority of libraries have selection or collection guidelines that outline how books are chosen. The majority of library websites have these rules. He said that librarians also review customer ratings and requests. Ivie said that the evaluations were written by peers from throughout the globe. “Trust the specialists residing in your libraries,” he said. “They’ve had training. They are reading the works themselves. They are perusing the testimonials. They understand what they are doing. They understand the community’s needs and the individuals that pass through their doors.”

Engelhardt feels that librarians should be acknowledged and that a library’s contribution to a community is immeasurable. She regarded a library as a safety net because it enables community members to learn about any topic of their choosing, and because many individuals of a community may feel acknowledged by a book or library exhibit.

“Our responsibility as a public library is to provide a comprehensive service program,” said Engelhardt. “We always emphasize the idea that everyone is welcome and appreciated. It is a secure place to study and develop.” Gutmann complimented librarians.

“We serve everyone from youngsters to adults, and our collections include a vast array of issues and perspectives, both historically and otherwise,” he stated. “This is the purpose of our public libraries. I believe that our librarians do an outstanding job managing these resources.”

Smithttown Weather

September 26, 2022, 9:12 am
 

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