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Targeted for tossing were books on the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Bible, the Koran, and Beowulf. In the end, over 8000 books were removed from library shelves.
What is weeding?
The Racine Unified School District is purging “tens of thousands of books” copyrighted prior to the year 2000, according to a statement by the REA. Racine Unified School District spokesperson, Stacy Tapp, said the District works with school staff members each summer to refresh the libraries.
“We provide a list of books to the library media specialist to consider pulling from the shelves because they are outdated, in very poor condition, don’t align with curriculum or have not been checked out in many years,” Tapp said. “There are additional factors that are considered as well. The school libraries have funds each year to replace old items.”
Kevin Henkes, a Racine native, has won many awards for his literally success with kids books. Many of his books are going away because educators have determined that they are not popular enough.
In a city like Racine, giving kids someone to look up to might not be a bad thing. Alas, his books will be gone, and with them, the example his work provides aspiring writers.
While this is being passed off as business as usual, some librarians, who have been around since the 90’s, have never seen this happen. They want to know why is this happening now?
One teacher said it’s quite suspicious that a parent of Pearson Publishing just happened to give a list of recommended books to buy recently.
“The REA/REAA presence at the Board of Education meeting comes after repeated efforts by school librarians and by the union’s leaders to get RUSD to explain why it has ordered the purge and why it refuses—thus far—to halt the weeding until alternatives can be developed by the school librarians,” according to a statement released by the union. Eick said the librarians are at a loss on how the books will be replaced. “There is not nearly enough money to buy enough books to replace what has been lost,” Eick said.
According to Eick, the union is demanding that:
● RUSD stop the “weeding” of our school libraries and reverse damage done to library collections.
● RUSD implement an appropriate policy with certified librarians taking the lead.
● RUSD provide children with access to a wide variety of quality literature and information.
● The Board to exercise responsible stewardship of the community’s educational resources.