Monday, September 25, 2017

Twitter Conversations about Scholastic's THE ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE

On September 22, 2017, a parent in Canada tagged me on a tweet about a book in his child's kindergarten classroom. He asked "What are kids learning about Canadian history? He shared four images from inside a book:

The pages are from The Royal Canadian Mounted Police by Marc Tetro, first published in 1994 by Scholastic Canada, for kids 5-8 years old. The tweet generated a fair bit of interest.

When I retweeted it, I tagged Scholastic:

Earlier today (Sep 25), Scholastic Canada replied:

I don't think there are any mechanisms by which a teacher or librarian would know that Scholastic stopped publishing this book because of the issues with its content. Clearly, it is still in at least one classroom in Canada.

I looked in WorldCat to see how many libraries have it. Given the issues in it, it shouldn't be in a public or school library. It does have use, however, in a university library. Unfortunately, it is in several public and school district libraries. If you've got it in your library, deselect it.


Cheriee Weichel said...

This is one of the reasons that we need better equipped school libraries with professionally educated teacher librarians at the helm. The push for classroom libraries (usually funded by teachers personally rather than an institution) means that many teachers collect all kinds of books for their classrooms without consideration for the types and quality of materials and no real understanding of how and what to weed.

Jamalia Higgins said...

I agree wholeheartedly with Cheriee's response above. I also believe that the responsibility must lie with the teacher or librarian at this point. No publisher is, or should be, responsible for telling buyers when to remove materials from their collections.

There actually are mechanisms for librarians to know when a book is out of print - vendor databases indicate this very clearly. Of course, in this case there were reasons beyond the usual lack of sales for not keeping a book in print, and it was the right decision. I applaud Scholastic Canada's candid and quick response to your inquiry.

Polly said...

It was in print as of 2015, because I just checked my library's shelves, and we have a copy that was ordered then. I will be weeding it!

Gabby said...

I'd like to hear thoughts about when it's appropriate to remove nonfiction items like this from a general university collection (not a special collection/not a big R1 university, either). Most students checking these out don't know that they're in the collection to be studied critically or that portions have incorrect or damaging phrasings, they often just see a title that seems like a close enough fit for a project.

Debbie Reese said...

Gabby--it seems you'd need to distinguish them somehow from those that (for example, students in a college of education) can be used for projects that advance knowledge of a topic to those that are examples of biased material. Does your library have a collection policy that you can look at?

Gabby said...

The collection policy I inherited for this section leans toward "dump anything that has bias" and has a lot of specific examples of types of bias and harmful language.

I wish I could create a sub-collection for them, but the children's section already has four sub-collections and I've seen how poorly our students handle navigating that.

Thanks for your reply!