While in the course of researching the case of Toni Morrison’s book, The Song of Solomon, I knew one voice that could not be excluded when discussing book censorship, librarians. Many librarians are against banning books, banning a book is silencing a voice in a world discussion. Nobody would think to cover someone’s mouth when they are talking at a school board meeting or pleading their case in a courtroom, but this is what book censorship does, it stops the conversation that is being held, and sometimes it stops the conversation from happening.
I knew that an interview with a St. Mary’s librarian from Lexington Park would be a huge benefit to the study of banned books. The preparation for the interview was straight forward. I knew where to go and request to have the interview, but then other things started to pop up. Who would be willing to speak about this controversial topic? My partner and I reached out to the library via email and organized a date to meet with a research librarian. Now that the interview day and time was lined up, look for the equipment to record the interview, I had to think of questions, and present the case we are studying so the research librarian would be able to fully understand what my partner and I intended to do with this information.
The first step of interview prep was to see what equipment was available to me. In a previous post, I surveyed the media center at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and reviewed the available materials. With this as my first step, I knew exactly who to reach out to and arranged a time for us to meet up and discuss the needs for the interview. The equipment that was available at the time was exactly what I needed, they had an excellent DSLR camera that would display a fine image and high quality video. There is an attachment for the camera to have an audio recorder which would be removed. There is also software that would align the video taken with the audio recorded from this secondary device. We also needed a tripod to set the camera on so we wouldnt have to hold it the entire time.
Next came the questions. That process was completed by me and my partner, we got together and focused on questions about our book, general censorship, and how the librarian feels about the censorship. Questions like: How do you feel about censorship? Who’s voice is excluded from the conversation with book censorship? Are you aware of Toni Morrison’s book was censored in the county in the 90’s? These questions were enough for us to get started, and continue with the interview from there.
Lastly, we had the interview prep of our research. I readied the discussion by asking her if she knows any particular instances of book censorship from the county, and respond that there actually was a book banned in the 90’s. Briefly explaining cultural significance, and the reason the book was banned.