CPS Library Advisory Boards To Review Books
November 9, 2021
Cabot Public Schools prides itself on providing the absolute best for our students. We are committed to equipping our students with the skills to become tomorrow’s leaders. However, when our patrons have questions or concerns, it is our responsibility and goal to be as transparent and forthcoming as possible.
Recently, there has been a nationwide movement challenging books in school libraries. We appreciate our own community members for bringing this to our attention. In fact, concerned parents have brought forward concerns with 21 titles. This led our School Board to direct administration to conduct an internal audit of our library book collections in grades 5th-12th.
As you can imagine, our school library book collections can be massive. There are over 87,000 books available for checkout in our 5th-12th grade libraries. Our teacher librarians use professionally-vetted journals and award-winning title lists when adding to their collections.
Of the 21 books in question, Cabot Middle School North, Cabot Middle School South, and Cabot Junior High South do not have any of the titles in their library collections.
Of the books, three of the titles have been most highly scrutinized:
- L8R, G8R (by Lauren Myracle) was located at Cabot Junior High North and Cabot High School; however, it was last checked out in 2013. Due to it not being in circulation for eight years, it has since been weeded (taken out of the collection) per district policy.
- The last time Out of the Darkness (by Ashley Hope Perez) was checked out at CHS was in May of 2018. It was removed from circulation at that time and is only available to staff.
- All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto (by George M. Johnson) is located at ACE and has never been checked out by a student. It has been weeded out of the collection due to lack of circulation per district policy.
As we have previously shared with our parents, patrons, and community members, we realize that not every book in the media center is appropriate for every student. However, we want there to be a book for every student that enters the library media center.
Our teacher librarians are dedicated to providing our students access to books that are appropriate for their needs. We want to stress again that parents DO have the right to choose and/or limit what their student can checkout and that students are NOT required to checkout books from our library. As of today, no such requests have been received.
Remember, parents can also request a reconsideration of a title in the collection of their student’s school that they deem unacceptable for all students. Again, as of today, no reconsideration paperwork has been filed on any title.
Due to a lack of formal requests and to address these concerns, the district is implementing a reconsideration process on its own as the complainant. Each school has a designated Library Advisory Board that consists of staff, parents, and community members. We will begin an immediate reconsideration process for the titles that remain in circulation.
- Cabot High School - 6
The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison - Fiction
A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities - Mady G. - Non-Fiction
All American Boys - Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds - Fiction
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out - Susan Kuklin - Non-Fiction
Look - Zan Romanoff - Fiction
Date Rape - Christine Watkins - Non-Fiction
- Cabot Freshman Academy - 2
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas - Fiction
Aristotle & Dante Discover Secrets of the Universe - Benjamin Alire Sáenz - Fiction
Over the next several weeks, these boards will thoroughly review the above books in question and provide a recommendation to the district.
Our teacher librarians may not remove titles without appropriate due process. It has been ruled unconstitutional to remove a title without first following the district’s challenge/reconsideration policy. In fact, Arkansas Statute 6-25-105 requires that districts have a defined policy for selecting materials and challenging titles in Arkansas Public School Libraries.
The intent of the district and our teacher librarians has never been to conceal our procedures in regards to our library book collections. The accusation that our teacher librarians intentionally and maliciously select harmful materials for our students is simply not true.
As we move forward from COVID protocols and restrictions on visitors, we encourage anyone that wants to meet with the teacher librarian and tour a media center to do so.
As we consider policy changes, we will also review options to ensure that parents are aware of titles that are added to our collections.