During a week that librarians nationwide are highlighting banned books, conservative Christian students and parents showcased their own collection outside a Fairfax County high school yesterday -- a collection they say was banned by the librarians themselves.
More than 40 students, many wearing black T-shirts stamped with the words "Closing Books Shuts Out Ideas," said they tried to donate more than 100 books about homosexuality to more than a dozen high school libraries in the past year. The initiative, organized by Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, was intended to add a conservative Christian perspective to shelves that the students said are stocked with "pro-gay" books.
Fairfax County's policy on library book selection says "the collection should support the diverse interests, needs and viewpoints of the school community." But library officials said donated and purchased books alike are evaluated by the same standards, including two positive reviews from professionally recognized journals.
None of the donated titles met that standard, said Susan Thornily, coordinator of library information services for Fairfax schools. Some librarians also said that the nonfiction books were heavy on scripture but light on research, or that the books would make gay students "feel inferior," she said.