1. Couples with kids will bring their kids (yes, I am referring to kids and not teenagers or adults) to the libraries to browse and borrow books, and many parents love the library environment and huge resources available in the libraries. These are quite apparent and clear from many of the letters written to the NLB and of which are circulating online.
2. The point is that in the library, the kids will choose books they are interested in, or that their parents will select a few for them. When they are home, it is highly probable that parents may read the books they had borrowed to their kids, or at least run parts of the stories with them as part of bedtime stories perhaps. Up till now does anyone believe that parents adopt a hands off approach to their kids’ reading journey?
3. It is also apparent in some of those letters that it is the duties and responsibilities of parents to inculcate the right values to their kids and to socialize their kids as they grow up. Interestingly this reason was also put forth by supporters of the NLB’s decision to take down those few titles whereby precisely as “concerned parents”, they have to support the move by the NLB to remove those titles because the contents are in contrary to some values that are dear to them. So can we say that even if some parents do not accompany their kids to the libraries, they will probably check up on what books their kids are reading precisely because they are concerned about the inculcation of the right values and so on?
4. Another point raised by those “concerned parents” is that kids being kids, they are easily influenced by what they had read or something along those lines. And that’s also the point put out by these “concerned parents” that books about murderous leaders like Pol Pot and Hitler shouldn’t be withdrawn (as sarcastically suggested by those who are against NLB’s move) because those aren’t books written for and to be read by kids.
5. So the point really is that it is acknowledged and clear from all the above that kids need some “guidance or control” when they read, and that parents do play a role in those.
6. Then the interesting question is, do some of these “concerned parents” also somehow have little faith in their own ability to exercise a watch over what their kids are reading, so much so that some titles must be removed from the libraries? Strange indeed.
7. Or is it that some people are more interested in sending whatever message they have across to the public by eradicating the titles from the libraries when they themselves know fairly well enough that as parents, they had already admitted and indeed are already exercising that close watch over what their kids are reading or will be reading?
8. So from the whole NLB debacle so far, I’m wondering if some parents are indeed really concerned about what their kids are reading when they themselves are already exercising control, or is it that some people are really concerned about sending across some messages by demanding the withdrawal of those books.
9. As a result of this debacle I’m quite curious about those titles. However even though I’m a frequent library visitor and I’m no longer a kid and those concerned people can trust me to read whatever I want to, I would not have a chance to browse through a copy in the NLB libraries, which is where I find it most convenient to pick up titles. That is the message of some, whereby nobody, not even thinking adults can access those books in our public libraries? Is that healthy for Singapore going forward?