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Librarians fired over controversial books

From Publisher's Weekly:

"Four members of a library board in West Bend, Wis., were dismissed last week for refusing to remove controversial books from the library’s young adult section—and yesterday, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the Association of American Publishers and PEN American Center criticized the firings."

Geo What happened: A couple of library patrons complained about books in the young adult section dealing with gay issues and accused the library of presenting (here we go again) a homosexual agenda. According to PW, they also demanded that the library add books "affirming traditional heterosexual agendas." Whatever that is. They wanted the library to dump Brent Hartinger's Geography Club, among other books.

Now I get that taxpayers pay a librarian's salary. And I have heard the (largely theoretical) argument that you never hear librarians speaking up for books that, say, deny the Holocaust happened. But nobody ever tries to ban those books, do they? They want to ban Harry Potter because wizards are evil or I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings because...well, I've never gotten why people want to ban that book, but it's always on the top 10 list of books most likely to be challenged.

Taxpayers absolutely have the right to voice opinions on what goes on in the government-funded libraries. But why do their voices trump my right to have MY kids check out Harry Potter from the library? Why should I have to fork out more than 20 bucks for a book because another person objects to it so it's no longer available? I guess my question boils down to: Why don't you JUST NOT LET YOUR KIDS READ WHAT YOU DON''T APPROVE OF? and let everybody else parent in the way they see fit? Why do the only opinions that count belong to people who think a book is going to turn their children gay?


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I always wonder if I went in and objected loudly to them having Bill O'Reilly's book because he is a dumbass if they would remove it or fire the librarians for not removing it.

Teresa B

You make some excellent points. There are some books of which I don't necessarily approve or agree with. I just choose not to read them. However, I think it is a good thing for people to read books with which they might not agree. If everyone just reads material that supports their views (whatever they may be) they will never truly understand where the other side is coming from. Ignorance, on either side, is not necessarily bliss. Plus, I would never want someone to lose their job over a book, just because I don't like what it says. That's ridiculous.

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