At the October 1, 2018 board meeting, the Utah Education Network (UEN) voted to deny access temporarily “pending additional discussion and investigation of EBSCO and all other similar periodical services provided by UEN to public education students.” EBSCO is a longtime, well-respected distributor of educational content that is used nationally in libraries and schools, across grade levels and subject areas and accessible to all students, both rural and urban. NCAC joined with the American Library Association, American Association of School Librarians, Association of College and Research Libraries, Utah Educational Library Media Association and National Council of Teachers of English to urge UEN to restore access to the EBSCO databases for educational institutions throughout Utah.
EBSCO collects and indexes articles and books from traditional newspapers, magazines, journals, and publishers, and makes that content available to libraries and schools to facilitate research and expand the universe of information available to students. The ability to search, evaluate, and select information is integral to student success in the classroom, in post-secondary education, and in the workplace. The imperative of teachers and librarians to cultivate this skill in our youth is vital to an informed citizenry for the next generation.
Efforts to remove EBSCO from libraries are spreading to other states, spearheaded by hyper-conservative groups. These attacks on students’ rights to access information are damaging to educators as well as students. It is the right of a parent to restrict access for their own child to information resources that they find incompatible with their beliefs or values; however, a parent–or an activist group–does not have the right to determine what resources are available to every child. Access to information and quality educational resources is an expectation of American parents and an obligation of teachers. EBSCO’s resources are immensely valuable to teachers and students.
The full letter to the Utah Education Network is below. NCAC is continuing to monitor on-going efforts to block EBSCO’s use in schools and libraries nationwide.
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