Bloomington School Board Rushing to Approve Proposed Policy 606.5

There is only one board member that is putting the concerns of the community first. The rest are trying to rush a template policy on library materials put out by the MSBA. Let me say that again. A TEMPLATE policy.

Shouldn't the template reflect the needs of the community? The school board has heard from many (401 plus many speakers) on the subject of explicit materials. Nothing was discussed or considered to protect against vulgar, profane, no sexually explicit material from entering into a Bloomington media center. 

Only one voice spoke out against rushing this policy and was trying to set a higher standard for our schools. Thank you Beth Beebe.

Speak out now. This is your last chance to have your voices heard regarding this matter before the board shuts the community out of the discussion altogether, as community members will no longer have a say once the policy passes. Only the parents, students, and staff will be allowed to challenge a book...

February 26th School Board Meeting:

Proposed Policy 606.5 Library Materials

Minute Mark 1:19:45

Executive Director of Technology & Information Services~ states the the purpose of the policy (that came out last fall from the Minnesota School Board Association) is to provide direction to districts about how responsibility for selection and reconsideration of library materials is done.

Board Member Starks- states that with 165,000 book selections in the system, with an average book staying in circulation for 20 years, that 8,000 titles per year to keep track of was determined by the Library Materials committee to be beyond capacity of the administration with the volume that we have. 

Board Member Beebe: 

1. School board has the final say on books coming into the district and if the board does not know what they are than the board is blindly saying those books are okay.

2. For parents sake: how will parents know what books are in there [media centers]. 

3. We need to set a stronger standard.

4. Parents are told to trust the experts [regarding book selection], but when they trusted the experts then they found out that there were books that had explicit sexual material. So maybe another thing that can be done, is that certain books if they have explicit content could be flagged so parents know [and can make an informed decision]. 

5. Anytime in a policy where there is an "or" it allows for things to change. Which happened in policy 606.1 where there was a choice of either leaving the books on the shelves or removing them, and no other criteria was mentioned. So who has that authority and that power [to decide], and this media specialist has a great deal of power to accept or reject materials, to research materials from where they are getting their information, but I brought up at that meeting that I observed there is bias in our high school libraries. There are not inclusive conservative biographies, conservative counter perspectives in books being presented on hot topics. That is a concern because we haven't addressed what is intellectual freedom which will allow that. I'm passionate about this. It seems as though no questioned item is going to be removed or even considered because of the criteria that's here [in proposed policy 606.5], everything passes. Nothing is going to be removed for that reason. (criteria states library materials shall meet the standard in ONE or more of the following categories: a. Artistic quality b. Authenticity c. Critical thinking d. Educational significance e. Factual content f. High interest for intended audience g. Readability)

Board Member Dymoke- Stated we [as a board] do trust the experts.

1. Trust the experts.

2. Trust the process

Board member Starks: make a Motion

"We are a board and the board makes the decision if we are done with the discussion or not . Not one particular board member and so I am going to make the motion for Library Materials Policy 606.5 to move to Part A at the next meeting."

Copy of Proposed policy 606.5:

Please let these people know you do not consent to their proposal and that more time should be taken to ensure we are setting a high standard for the children in our community!

Superintendent Dr. Eric Melbye

Assistant Superintendent, Jenna Mitchler

Executive Director of Technology & Information Services John Weisser

School Board (send to all members)

Executive Assistant, Kimsure Lofton