Resources for parents concerned about content
The Hudson Area Public Library strives to support all families in our community as they make decisions about their children’s access to library materials.
Library staff do not impose personal beliefs on patrons regardless of their age, nor do staff monitor youth reading in the library or the materials they check out. Parents have the right to make decisions for their families about content without interference from library staff.
However, staff realize parents may not have tools and resources to make informed decisions about content and whether it aligns with their families’ values.
Publishers Weekly reports that 825 million books were sold in 2021 alone, and more than one-third of the sales were books for youth. It’s impossible for the best-read librarians or the most conscientious parents to screen so much content.
It takes a village.
Here are a few online “villages” parents might find helpful as well as some tips from our staff.
Full access requires paid membership, but some of the site is available without a subscription.
Common Sense Media is a nonprofit organization that aims to provide trustworthy information and education to kids and parents. The group reviews and rates books, among other media. The book reviews are straight-forward and include recommended ages, a star rating and other information parents need to know.
Plugged In strives to give families the essential tools they need to understand, navigate, and impact the culture in which they live with a goal of diving deeper into specific content. Under the books tab, you can search by genre or title. The site also includes a blog and podcast.
Compass Book Ratings’s mission is to give readers the ability to find the right book for them based on age, genre, starred literary reviews and especially by content. The site has developed its own standardized rating system for books, which they describe in the methodology section.
The site has a tab: Clean YA for Tweens and Teens
The stated goal in this section of the website is to identify “teen books that are great for tweens, teens, or anyone looking for exciting books without sexual content and without excessive language. We have found that violence is usually not the main concern, but we will always make note if we think the violence is excessive (even if there is no sex or language).”
The mission of Goodreads is to help people find and share books they love. This well-known site has a tab called “Community.” You can search by keywords such as “clean YA,” “Christian fiction,” etc. While reasonable people define words like “clean” and “family friendly” differently, participants can conclude quickly whether a particular group is a good fit.
Facebook has thousands of closed and private groups for people who share the same interests and concerns, including groups for parents concerned about media content. The same note applies: Reasonable people might not agree on content, but the sheer number of groups suggests parents are able to find likeminded social media users.
Tips from Hudson Area Public Librarians
At the Hudson Area Public Library, the library cards of family members are usually linked. Parents can access the accounts online and monitor what is currently checked out.
For parents concerned about content, we suggest you ask your child to provide the check-out receipt that lists titles and due dates.
When possible, read books your children are reading. It’s a great opportunity to share a creative experience and talk about the stories: the challenges faced by the characters, character traits and behaviors, values, any connection to current events and your family’s experiences as well as other topics.
Contact our staff with questions
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