This is a very disturbing story. Approximately 8,000 books were removed from the shelves of Mitchell Middle School in Racine, Wisconsin.

Initially, librarians expected that 2,000 books would be “weeded,” but the number grew to 8,000, including “books on the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Bible, the Koran, and Beowulf. In the end, over 8000 books were removed from library shelves.”

The Racine Education Association says the district plans to “weed” tens of thousands of books from public school library shelves that were copyrighted before 2000 or that are not aligned with the curriculum.

“While this is being passed off as business as usual, some librarians, who have been around since the 90′s, have never seen this happen. They want to know why is this happening now.

“One teacher said it’s quite suspicious that a parent of Pearson Publishing just happened to give a list of recommended books to buy recently. “The REA/REAA presence at the Board of Education meeting comes after repeated efforts by school librarians and by the union’s leaders to get RUSD to explain why it has ordered the purge and why it refuses—thus far—to halt the weeding until alternatives can be developed by the school librarians,” according to a statement released by the union.

Eick said the librarians are at a loss on how the books will be replaced. “There is not nearly enough money to buy enough books to replace what has been lost,” Eick said.

According to Eick, the union is demanding that:

● RUSD stop the “weeding” of our school libraries and reverse damage done to library collections.

● RUSD implement an appropriate policy with certified librarians taking the lead. ● RUSD provide children with access to a wide variety of quality literature and information.

● The Board to exercise responsible stewardship of the community’s educational resources.

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