Thursday, February 6, 2014

Government in Action: Teen Edition

By IASL President Christine Sturgeon

You know how people say we need to make school real for students - give them authentic work about issues that impact their own lives?  The Iowa Legislature is providing us with just that, in the form of HF 2055.  

A public librarian in Iowa and a member of ILA's Government Action Committee has shared this email she sent to her local schools' government teachers. Consider sending it off to your school's government teacher:
I don’t know where you are with government topics right now, but I have an issue I think juniors and seniors would love to debate and contact their legislators over. House File 2055 was introduced this week and it aims to allow parents access to library records of minor children.  Right now parents can’t come into the library and ask what books their children are reading.  They can ask, but we won’t tell them.  If this passes, we’ll have to tell them.  That means if a child is looking at information on any type of “private” issue, we’d have to tell their folks.  I think it would be really interesting to see what kids think about that.  It passed out of committee on Tuesday, so this is something you’d need to bring up right away if kids would like to contact their legislators either for or against the idea. Here’s the link to the legislation. 
The Iowa Library Association is strongly opposed to the legislation.  Here's a position paper from the state of Vermont that might help if you want to use this in class. It isn't very often that legislation directly affects students, so I thought you might like to know about this one.
 Can I just say how fabulous it would be if this infringement on privacy and local control of libraries was stopped because our STUDENTS speak up?