Libraries across the country, Arlington Public Library among them, are having conversations about how to balance the core library value of intellectual freedom with the harmful stereotypes depicted in many of what are regarded as children's classics.
Last week, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it will cease publication and sales of six titles because they portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong: "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street," "If I Ran the Zoo," "McElligot’s Pool," "On Beyond Zebra!," "Scrambled Eggs Super!" and "The Cat’s Quizzer."
Existing copies of these titles in the Arlington Public Library collection will remain in circulation until they are no longer usable. As they are now out of print, these titles will not be replaced when they leave the collection.
In light of this news, it’s worth taking a look at the books of our childhood with a critical eye. We no longer live in the world Seuss lived in when he created these works. If you want to share classics and older titles with young readers, consider taking the opportunity to have a conversation about the themes, characterization and the time period a book was published. Then balance these stories with other diverse titles.
Diversity in publishing, especially in youth literature, has been a topic of conversation and concern in the industry for a number of years. Arlington Public Library intentionally curates its collections to ensure diversity of themes, characters and authors, and systematically reviews the collection for gaps. We invite you to discover new titles and authors through our booklists, catalog and collections.
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