Collections Policy Meets Hebdo


We met with our Head of School this afternoon after a copy of the most recent Charlie Hebdo arrived in our mailbox. Given the nature of our school and the attacks in Paris, I wasn’t surprised to learn the senior parents had decided to subscribe us to the magazine. Okay, I am totally surprised but I also see my reaction as being very American. Charlie Hebdo themselves asked readers to subscribe as part of the fight against censorship. I have a lot of conflicted feelings.

So, I am really glad that I wrote our Collection Development Policy a few years ago and was able to show it to our Head. It outlines what we do and do not collect, our challenge/reconsideration policy, and, most importantly right now, our donation policy. We talked about a few of the possible outcomes of having Charlie Hebdo available in the library and I feel satisfied the decision provides commonsense access to an important/controversial publication while also being sensitive to the potential for harm.

What we’re doing: Keeping the magazine in a container in the library, available for teacher and US student use. It will be weeded at the end of the year with the rest of the periodicals. We will not subscribe once this year runs out.