A classroom in Springfield. (Photo by Shannon Cay)


by Curtis Thomas, Springfield

I wanted to write a quick response to an opinion column published by the Springfield Daily Citizen on April 14, “Boundaries needed so children see only age-appropriate books” by Julie Higgins.

In the piece, she writes that one of Springfield Public School’s elementary libraries includes the book “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison. In fact, no SPS school library, elementary through high school, includes a copy of this book. Several libraries do have a book titled “Lawn Boy,” but it is written by Gary Paulsen and is a completely different, and entirely age-appropriate, book.

I was also disheartened to see the author suggest that an elementary library includes inappropriately graphic murder stories without naming the titles at issue. Without knowing which books she is referring to, readers have no way of deciding for themselves if they are inappropriate or not.


Opinion: Boundaries needed so children see only age-appropriate books

As adults, we do have freedoms; however, we also have responsibilities to place safeguards for children. This is why movies have ratings and websites have “age appropriate” warnings. If children aren’t the appropriate age to see a movie with the same horrific content that parents are concerned with in a book, why should this type…

While it is important to hear from a wide range of voices on the issues of the day, it is equally important to be accurate and transparent when doing so.

SPS librarians are dedicated professionals who use their expertise to select and purchase age-appropriate and relevant materials for their learning communities. April is designated by the American Association of School Librarians as School Library Month, a chance for communities to celebrate their school libraries and the librarians who run them. My colleagues do incredible work every day teaching students important skills, connecting students to great books, and creating spaces where every student feels safe, welcomed, and valued.

While I wish we didn’t have to defend ourselves against misinformed attacks, I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the amazing things happening in SPS libraries every day.

Curtis Thomas is a library media specialist with the Springfield Public Schools.