Elmbrook Schools Community,
Some constituents have recently raised concerns about the books Queer and This Book is Gay, which were previously available on our SORA App for middle school students and above. These books were never available for our elementary school students despite media statements to the contrary. The circulation of these books in our middle school libraries and on SORA will be suspended until the District has reviewed access and parental reporting capabilities at a future Teaching & Learning Committee meeting.
Our library department works diligently to provide quality resources supporting the informational needs of all members of our learning community. To select appropriate resources (print and digital), we rely heavily on professional review sources, such as Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, School Library Journal, and the Library Journal. The reviews provide guidance on book acquisition decisions and address topics such as content accuracy and age appropriateness.
Regarding access to student book circulation activity, parents and guardians have access to both print (through Destiny online catalog) and digital (through Sora our ebook and audiobook provider) circulations with student logins. We encourage parents to work with their students to gain circulation transparency. If additional assistance is needed, please contact Kay Koepsel-Benning, Director of Library Services (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We have a Board Policy for selection of library materials (6163.1) which outlines the process and criteria for selection and purpose. It also highlights options for parents to object to materials being used by their child and request these not be used by their student. If complaints are made about materials, our Controversial Issues Policy 6144 is to be followed. At a future Teaching and Learning Committee meeting, the policy that guides the selection of instructional material for our libraries will be reviewed and modified as necessary.
The power of books allows a reader to walk in someone else's shoes, cultivate empathy and social and societal awareness. We promote, encourage, and support reading as a path to individual learning and a deeper understanding of the world, but we never assume every book is the right choice for every child or every family. We appreciate the questions and concerns that have been raised about library resources available to students, as these questions have prompted a better understanding of our current processes and some initial thoughts around potential process improvements. We will work to maintain exceptional libraries that enhance the academic and social-emotional education of every Elmbrook student.
Scott Wheeler, School Board President
Jean Lambert, School Board Vice President