[library-media] Common Sense Media

Sarah Herron Sarah.Herron at slcschools.org
Fri Nov 19 12:35:43 MST 2010

Cindy and all,

Thank you so much for your insight! I love learning others' perspectives; it encourages me to re-evaluate mine. What a wonderful, wise group you are!


Sarah G. Herron
Library Technology Teacher
WHS Technology Coordinator
West High School
241 N. 300 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84105

**Please note my address change: sarah.herron at slcschools.org **

sarah.herron at slcschools.org
801-578-8500 X271 Telephone
801-578-8524 Fax

"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."   Groucho Marx

From: library-media-bounces at lists.uen.org [mailto:library-media-bounces at lists.uen.org] On Behalf Of Cindy Mitchell
Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 11:07 AM
To: library-media at lists.uen.org
Subject: [library-media] Common Sense Media

Much thanks to Fawn for giving the Common Sense Media info.

I have been mulling the different information that has come out about the site.  I must admit that I have not been to the site often, because you all probably know that I read very quickly and read almost everything for myself.

I have been to several ALA conferences and attended sessions about censorship and/or selection.  I found it interesting that publishers and authors seemed to think that we should accept everything they write and print without questioning or judging what they have supplied.  And if we do question or if we do judge then we our obstructionists and censors and evil - no really, that is what I have heard them say.  Even if we try to discuss the matter in terms of budgets and audience, it comes back to the fact that they believe that we should buy everything they print and never make any sort of critique about what they have printed.  At least in these kinds of presentations.

That being said, I have never had a publisher stop sending books to Kiss the Book because they have not liked what we have said about any book.  They know that we count the swear words and talk about mature situations and describe violent situations.  I have really been surprised and gratified by their response to our reviews, because I was a little worried when we first got started with this.  And we do send every review to the publisher and most of them get sent on to the authors (I have no control over that).

The reason I started reading everything for myself was because as a new librarian I got burned pretty badly by buying books based on ALA and YALSA and Booklist reviews that turned out to be very graphic in a mature nature.  I decided that I couldn't trust the professional reviewers tot ell me what I needed to know about the book.  And I think most of you know what has happened from there.

One thing that we are always encouraging parents to do is to know what their children are reading that it is their job to raise concerns with their own children, though it is not their right to make those choices for other people's children.  So - the example of their parent following their child around the bookstore or around the library is an example of parents doing what we asked them to do with what tools they have available.

When a friend told me that Hunger Games is the hot book at the elementary school, I was really taken aback, because if my child was 9 or 10 or 11, I wouldn't want them reading Hunger Games, or City of Glass or Unwind or Ender's Game.

What is our job?  To make sure that we have books that fit our audience, that engage our audience, that sometimes challenge our audience.  We only have some much time and so much money to fill a LOT of needs.  And I think this site is another tool for all of us to use in making these choices.  Is it a perfect tool, no.  Is my site a perfect tool, no.

We need lots of different tools to help us see the bigger picture.  I do not see any harm in a review that lets me know up front what I can expect from a book.  I have read books that had no mature content in them that I have hated and refuse to buy.  I have read books with LOTS of mature content in them that I have loved and would defend vehemently.  I make those choices for my library; you make those choices for your library.  And parents can make those choices for their children.

For those of you who have read to the end of this, thanks for listening to my soap box.  I just had to get this off my chest.

Cindy Mitchell

-- Cindy Mitchell
South Jordan Middle School
10245 S 2700 W
South Jordan UT 84095
FAX 801-412-2930

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