Contact: Bernadette Murphy
Washington Communications Director
For Immediate Release:
May 18, 2005
American Library Association against proposed bill to federally
mandate school library purchases
(WASHINGTON) The following is a statement from American Library Association (ALA) President Carol Brey-Casiano:
"The American Library Association is deeply concerned about H.R. 2295, which would deprive schools of much-needed funding unless the community adopts a federally mandated review panel to judge books purchased for classrooms and school libraries.
"According to the bill's sponsor, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), the legislation is designed to restrict children's access to information by establishing review boards that would recommend for or against the acquisition of particular books and materials based on the panel's view of "appropriateness." This effort to limit access violates ALA's long-held principles of intellectual freedom and parental involvement by denying every parent the ability to choose what materials are appropriate for their children according to their own family's values. Instead, it empowers a small review board to decide for all families in a community what materials will be available.
"This legislation is also unnecessary. Communities already elect parent and community representatives to local school boards, and these boards empower parents by providing ample opportunities to participate in their children's education. This legislation is a solution in search of a problem. There is no need for federal interference in a local community's decisions about its education needs."