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Social Issues: Letters

To the Editor Star Tribune

School librarians

A March 16 Commentary article, described the firing of a Montana librarian for giving books on witchcraft to seventh-graders. Alice Hoffman saw important issues of censorship and sexism in this situation. The firing may have been unjust, but there are several implications that Hoffman did not see.

Librarians do not necessarily see themselves as "duty bound to obtain requested material without regard to bias or personal judgment." In fact, certain topics, such as the scientific evidence for creation and against evolution is uniformly censored. Even donated books are often rejected. This is also often true of Christian books, and is done in the name of "the separation of church and state."

Also, Hoffman intuitively accepts the notion that all knowledge is good and does not recognize that any could be dangerous. I suspect that even the most liberal-minded would advise discretion on detailed bomb-making instruction and pornography.

Likewise, witchcraft is not benign and harmless, skeptical scoffing to the contrary.

Ross S. Olson, Minneapolis.

Published April 1, 1994

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