A new project of New York City Indymedia, IndyKids, has been censored by two area library systems. After agreeing to distribute IndyKids to their local branches, both the New York Public Library and the Queens Public Library changed their minds and now refuse to distribute the paper. They say the reason for their decision is that IndyKids is not “balanced.”

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It is fine for the library’s materials to put forth these perspectives, but the library should not pretend that these are balanced and exclude other points of view. As a public institution supported with taxpayer dollars, the libraries have the responsibility to distribute all kinds of publications from a variety of perspectives.

The American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights” states: “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.”

Read their full action alert here.

Of course IndyKids comes from a certain perspective that probably isn’t balanced. However as they point out, the stuff kids are given currently isn’t balanced either. A free marketplace of ideas accepts conflicting viewpoints and allowed the individual to make up their own mind.

Apparently libraries think different rules apply for kids, that they shouldn’t be free to make up their own minds about issues but just accept a sanatized, establishment approved viewpoint. Which is why this is relivent as a youth rights issue, since libraries certainly accept different unbalanced views in adult newspapers and periodicals, why not in material geared toward kids? No doubt they feel youth “can’t handle” it, or are incapable of thinking critical about the material. Or they simply wish to push a certain viewpoint and can get away with it. Who knows.

btw, IndyKids did an article about our push to lower the voting age in NYC. :b: