Book Notes: Book Selection and Intellectual Freedom By Le Roy Charles Merritt

[AN: All notes are taken verbatim from the book. I claim no rights to them.]

Book Selection and Intellectual Freedom

By Le Roy Charles Merritt

Merritt, Le Roy Charles. Book Selection and Intellectual Freedom.USA:University ofOregon?, 1970. Print.

  1. Value Theory: “give them what they should have” (11)
  2. Demand Theory: “give them what they want” (11)
  3. He must select each book not because it will do no harm but because it may do some good (12)
  4. It is selected for its positive value to a certain group of patrons, despite the possibility of another patron’s objecting or the likelihood of controversy (12)
  5. The obverse problem may be more difficult—that of the citizen who protests the absence of books which have not been selected. Such protests almost invariably come not from people who wish to read the books but from those who want them in the library for other people to read. They want the library to serve their propagandistic purposes (15)
  6. The librarian who would not buy a volume presented with the author’s compliments should feel under no compulsion to add it to his library’s collection (16)
  7. “But,” as one librarian had said, “when a book sells seven million copies, it becomes news as a literary phenomenon, and should be added so that readers in general can discover what the fuss is all about (16-17)
  8. Indeed, the protest of only one patron about a book on the open shelves has served as a jail sentence for many books in many libraries (18)
  9. In brief, the young person who is ready for the content of a book is also ready to handle that content; if he is not ready he will either not be interested in the book or will not understand and will pass over the portions his elders are concerned about on his behalf (19)
  10. There are two major reasons for writing a book selection policy. The first, which may be said to have provided much greater impetus to librarians, is the importance of having a document in hand when a selections decision is challenged (25)
  11. [It] is likely to take the wind out of the sails of the would-be censor or propagandist (25)
  12. The second reason for writing a book selection policy seems to be of equal importance and of much greater day-to-day usefulness, although it is infrequently cited by librarians and still less frequently utilized (25)
  13. If it is, and in nearly all cases it will be, the book selection policy statement provides a ready means to assist in explaining to the questioner why the book his is concerned about belongs in the library or does not belong there (30)
  14. Good working collections including standard works, classics, and popular titles are acquired in all needed fields (34)
  15. Responsibility for the reading of children rests with their parents and legal guardians. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility that books may inadvertently come into the possession of children (35)
  16. In keeping with the Library Bill of Rights the library does not prohibit material solely because of the political affiliations of the author (38)
  17. Principle subdivisions within these broad fields of thought are metaphysics (theory of knowledge and being), logic (science of reasoning), aesthetics (theory of beauty), and ethics (study of moral conduct) (46)
  18. Such titles may be in fields of extrasensory perception, health, and unidentified flying objects. The library buys representative titles on subjects not generally accepted by the scientific community. Such titles may be in fields of palmistry, graphology, and spiritualism (47)
  19. Specifically, children are served by the Children’s Department book collection from infancy through eighth grade (52)
  20. In other words, books are purchased with the idea that the young reader is not only influential adult of tomorrow, but a “person” in his own right today (52)
  21. The library considers it a responsibility to include titles which will provide as complete coverage of this area of literature as possible (53)
  22. Care must be taken that no patron in search of subject material goes away empty-handed (59)
  23. But then, librarians have never been jailed and rarely come to the defense of works that do not stock (68)
  24. The librarian who has prepared a good offensive position in the cause of intellectual freedom, and has taken care to make that position known in the community, will not only be strategically situated to withstand an attack, but will rarely be confronted with an attack at all (71)
  25. In no case should library materials be excluded because of the race or nationality or the social, political, or religious views of the authors (Library Bill of Rights) (82)
  26. Libraries do not advocate the ideas found in their collections. The presence of a magazine or book in a library does not indicate an endorsement of its contents by the library (Statement on Labeling) (84)
  27. As a practical consideration, a librarian who labeled a book or magazine pro-communist might be sued for libel (Statement on Labeling) (84)
  28. Labeling is an attempt to prejudice the reader, and as such, it is a censor’s tool (Statement on Labeling) (84)
  29. Labeling violates the spirit of the Library Bill of Rights (Statement on Labeling) (84)
  30. We are, then, anti-Communist, but we are also opposed to any other group which aims at closing any path to knowledge (Statement on Labeling) (84)
  31. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice (85)
  32. It is wrong that what one man can read should be confined to what another thinks is proper (86)
  33. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and inoffensive (87)

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