Dearborn Public Schools announce new library book review criteria in response to community concerns

6 books sparked library book evaluations within the district

DEARBORN, Mich. – Books have been a hot topic in Dearborn for the past couple of weeks, resulting in the school district to create new criteria for evaluating books in school libraries.

On Wednesday, Dearborn Public Schools announced how the district plans to review potential books that students will access in school.

According to the district, media specialists are utilizing several resources to determine age-appropriate titles that can stay on the shelves of the many libraries within Dearborn schools.

The new book review criteria comes after six books -- including Push, The Lovely Bones and This Book is Gay -- that have been submitted to be challenged by the district due to concerns from Dearborn parents.

Related: How many of these banned or challenged classic books have you read? The list might surprise you

A press release states that the district has created a “Parent Opt-Out for Media Materials” form allowing guardians to restrict certain materials or completely block their children from checking out specific items in the schools’ libraries.

“We realize the community has many strong feelings on both sides of the issue of limiting student access to some books,” Superintendent Glenn Maleyko wrote in a press release. “We work hard to make sure our schools are welcoming, safe spaces for all students, and our libraries will continue to reflect that as well. However, we are also aware that the vast majority of students in our care are minors, still learning about life and the world, and they are not ready emotionally or intellectually to process some content.”

The district has almost 500,000 books within the school’s libraries, and more than 300,000 can be found in the district’s library online catalog system. To see what books students have access to, click here.

On top of the opt-out form, the school district calls on parents to join the book reconsideration committee. Officials say the committee will allow the Dearborn community to give input to staff and students on why a specific book should be retained or removed from the district’s collection. Learn more about the committee here.

Watch the video below to learn more about the new media center guidelines in Dearborn Public Schools.

“We appreciate the patience from our parents and community members as we implement this new process,” Dr. Maleyko said. “Reading and critical thinking are enormously important life skills, and we are always working to find the balance between encouraging our students to explore the wonders of the written word while ensuring they can do so with age-appropriate material.”

Read more: Committee formed to review library books in Dearborn schools

There’s a battle over books brewing in the city of Dearborn.

Read: More education coverage

About the Author:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital News Editor and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.