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Did Reading Rainbow "Ban Books?"
Curation is not book-banning.
Levar Burton, former and long-time host of Reading Rainbow, recently unloaded on the “unprecedented book bans” taking place throughout America. But, as I’ve argued previously, curation is not book-banning. And, as I recall watching Reading Rainbow as a child, I have some questions for Mr. Burton.
Would Levar Burton have done a reading of 50 Shades of Grey or Game of Thrones on Reading Rainbow? Of course not. Does that mean those books were "banned?" Of course not. Did Reading Rainbow, by chance, have a process of curation in which they decided which books were age-appropriate and of high enough quality to be featured on Reading Rainbow? Of course there was. Were the books that didn't make the cut "banned?" Of course not.
Any library, especially those catering to children, can and should have a curation process, just like Reading Rainbow had a curation process. And any library funded by tax dollars should have its curation process informed by those who pay those taxes, and those catering to children should have their curation process informed by the children's parents.
This isn't about banning books. It's about curating children's libraries with age-appropriate books. By continuing to use the "book ban" language, we're distorting the issue to the point that we're not actually having the real debate about what curation in children's libraries should look like.
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