By Chris McCarthy
Gadsden Public Library director of adult services Craig Scott soon will have a direct impact in which books will or won’t be available for public library consumption throughout the state.
The Alabama Library Association recently asked that Scott serve as the chairman of the ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee. Scott will officially accept the position on Apr. 27 at the ALA’s 2012 convention in Hoover.
According to Scott, his committee will review and rule on cases in which an individual library in the state is challenged by a patron about whether or not a specific book or material should be banned from that library’s shelves.
“Libraries get challenged all the time, whether it’s a kids book or a teen’s book,” said Scott. “Normally the local libraries have their own board and policies that deal with whether or not a book should be pulled. Where my committee comes in is if a local library wants a second opinion after talking with its own board.”
Scott added that his committee would re-write a board policy if requested to do so.
Although the ALLA is based in Montgomery, Scott said that most of his committee’s meetings would take place in Homewood.
“It’s another little challenge for me, so I’m excited to get started,” said Scott.
On a local level, Scott and GPL director Amanda Jackson put together “Banned Books Week” every October. Last year, the GPL staged Jackson’s mock arrest and trial in order to draw attention to the censorship issue in public libraries.
“I think some of that got out, and our current [ALLA] president, Emily Tish, heard about it and eventually asked me about heading up the committee.”