One of my students came to me asking for books. Now, this is not a newsworthy or unusual occurance, but the story she told about why she wanted the books is still shocking to me.
This 8th grader had just finished listening to my book talks that accompany the "Survival" Unit reading project and was very interested in books about the Holocaust. (By the way, this is probably because our school is the only school in the country that does NOT study The Diary of Anne Frank...don't get me started on that. And yes, I am shocked by that). Anyway, I digress...
Said 8th grader went home over the weekend and was having a conversation with her mom about the Holocaust. (This is everything that we hope kids do about books and subjects they are interested in)! The discussion turned to Nazi experimentation on Jews and she decided that she wanted to know more. So, she went to our local public library over the weekend and asked for books about Nazi experimentation during the Holocaust. She was told, "you probably shouldn't be reading about that," and the person at the reference desk wouldn't help her find any books on the subject.
AAAAH! Having worked for almost 7 years in the public library before moving to school libraries, this REALLY shocks me. I am still in awe about the entire exchange, and am hoping that it was a misunderstanding!
By the way, on Monday when she told me about this, I made sure she checked out our copy of Surviving the Angel of Death: The story of a Mengele twin in Auschwitz. Which, I must add, the local library owns, and shelves in their Young Adult Biography section.
At least I got to be the hero in this story! In talking about this experience with several non-librarian friends, it is good to know that they were as shocked as I was.