Saturday, November 24, 2007

Re: Richie Partington

By now a lot of you have already heard--

"High profile local librarian fired over opposition to book banning by principal:

"A day after informing the District Superintendent that he saw no reason to meet with the principal who had banned a highly-regarded children's book -- until the principal had actually read the book that he had banned -- Sebastopol librarian and author Richie Partington was fired from his position as Library Consultant to the Bellevue Union School District in Santa Rosa, California." (from Richie's MySpace page)

The book banned by the principal (how much power does he have?) is The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick, a multi-award winning MG novel and one of YALSA's 100 Best of The Best Books for the 21st Century.

The principal apparently objected to the reference to "gangs" in this novel. Partington's objection, I believe, is that the principal never even read the book, that he "banned" the book on that basis alone, with no intention of reading it.

So where is the discussion???

Richie's credentials are amazing. He has spent YEARS promoting reading and literacy with his book reviews, youth seminars, teaching, and committe work (including a three-year term on ALA's Best Books for Young Adults committee and the upcoming Caldecott Awards). Of course he also holds a special place in my heart-- because he gave Before/After its very first review.

Richie is urging his supporters to write to his local newspaper, The Press Democrat, to voice their opinions and hopefully bring this situation to light.


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