My Northern Wisconsin

Covering Ashland, Iron, Lincoln, Oneida, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Vilas Counties


Photo by:  Janene Ravet

At the May 25, 2023 library board meeting, Janene Ravet presented a donation of ten Brave Books for children.  According to Janene, the Brave Books' website states that the books they publish show "God-loving, patriotic Americans."  When the books were not being bought by the Phillips Public Library, community members put their funds together and purchased ten books for just under $200 that were donated to the Phillips Public Library.

The donation was not immediately put into the library collection, which made some community members question that decision.  Upon further investigation, My Price County could not find any Brave Books in the MORE system for the area.  Some residents thought the IFLS library director was against adding these books.

When asked if he did or did not recommend Brave Books be purchased by individual library directors, John Thompson, the IFLS library director, replied, "In my position as a library system director, I don’t provide book recommendations to our public libraries.  The public libraries within our system are governed by their individual municipally appointed library boards.  Those boards develop policies including a collection development policy to govern the administration of the library.  The collection development policy provides criteria for library staff to select, purchase, evaluate donations, and maintain the library’s collection."

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At the June 29, 2023 meeting, some community members spoke about the donation, both for and against it.  However, most of the board members found common ground stating that the ten Brave Books should be allowed into the Phillips Public Library so that people can select the different subject matter they would like their children to read.  Some stated that the books that were challenged in the recent past may have been shelved in a certain section or a sticker may have been placed in it to advise of certain content, but the books were allowed to be in the library.  The general consensus of the library board showed acknowledgment that the library director can decide whether to accept or deny the donation, but both liberal and conservative views should be represented.

Library Director Becky Puhl presented her thoughts that the Brave Books did not meet the requirements set forth in the Collection Development Policy.  She felt that the authority, skill, and reputation of the author and reputation and standards of the publisher were not in line with the policy.  She questioned if the Donations Policy needed to be revised given she felt it conflicted with the Collection Development Policy.  She appreciated everyone sharing their views in a positive manner, and she stated she needed time to think about accepting the collection to make sure she was not in violation of a policy.

About a week later, My Price County / My Northern Wisconsin asked Becky if the donation would be accepted in whole or in part.  She stated that she chose to accept all ten of the donated books, and they are now in the library and available to be read there or checked out.  Browsing the MORE System, it appears all copies are currently in use, but you can place a hold on any of the books at this link.

The next library board meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 1, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. at the Phillips Public Library.
(This post was last modified: 07-27-2023, 02:37 PM by My Northern Wisconsin.)