Those of you who know me know that I come from a family of librarians. My grandmother was one and so was my father. One of the things that they faced throughout their careers was the call for censorship. It comes with the job I guess. If you are the person giving people access to information, someone is going to get pissed about the information you are providing. This particularly true when it comes to sex.
I remember as a kid, a very public fight between my father and some local bible thumpers over sex education books being made available at the library. My Dad believed that young adults should have access to the ins and outs (sorry about that) of sex. That was what a library is for, to look up stuff you want to know, and frankly, young adults want to know the truth about sex. They NEED to know the truth. Just ask Bristol Palin.
The worst part was, that as soon as the book banners started squawking, the loonies came out of the woodwork. It was a living example of the slippery slope. As soon as the story ran in the paper, little old ladies with bung holes tighter than the buns on their heads started showing up at the front desk with stacks of books they thought were obscene and in need of being pulled. The funny part was, most of the books involved lesbians. What do little old ladies in Iowa have against lesbians I wonder? And how did they know those books contained stories about lesbians? Doth thou protest too much?
Any way, Mr. Art Weeks, the library director in Ames, Iowa stood up to the purveyors of sexual ignorance and won a battle to keep a magazine called Sex, Etc. available to teens. The magazine is written by and for teens under the oversight of Answer, a national sexuality organization at Rutgers University. It addresses teen sexuality issues, substance abuse and eating disorders.
I mention all of this merely on the chance that Mr. Weeks will Google himself one of these days and come across this post where I call him a hero, a champion of enlightenment and a defender of the marketplace of ideas.
From those of us who understand the importance of access to information, from those of us who believe that sex education is the key to sound decision-making, from those of us who have seen the slippery slope first hand, I just want to say:
Well done Mr. Weeks, well done.
Teen Sex Magazine to Stay on Shelves at Iowa Library