27 February 2007

"Scrotum" in the Library

The hoopla surrounding the use of the anatomical term "scrotum" in this year's Newbery Medal is yet another exanple of librarians taking themselves too seriously. It's no wonder that we are often pegged as matronly, out of touch gatekeepers. How can we suggest that the use of an anatomical term in a children's story is inapproriate while children watch primetime tv that exposes them to sexualized content that has no objective or educational value.

The use of scrotum in childrens literature should be used as a teaching tool to help children feel more comfortable with their bodies, more comfortable asking questions about their bodies and sex, and to make books, libraries, and librarians into figures to whome children feel comfortable asking questions. We are not judges. We are guides through the process of learning.

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