Monday, January 7, 2013

Library Censorship is Disappointing

In this recent article Greenville librarian says decision to ban graphic novel wasn't made lightly, I was very disappointed in this librarian’s actions. She has decided to ban the graphic novel “Neonomicon" by Alan Moore.

I haven’t ever read this graphic novel but apparently a committee of library employees reviewed the novel and decided that the book should be kept. This librarian decides to overrule the committee and ban it anyway. She states that it was disgusting but doesn’t say it was pornographic or obscene. I feel that if one person makes this decision, it is blatant censorship.

I find it interesting that the library has several copies of Fifty Shades of Gray which some people might definitely consider pornographic or obscene. I haven’t read that book but not because it has been removed from the library but because I choose not to read it. I am an adult and I made this decision from reading reviews and hearing about it from other people. I don’t think it should be removed from the shelves because adults have the right to make this decision.

I’m afraid if we took out every book that one person found “disgusting,” we might not have very many books in the library.

During this time when less and less people are using libraries, I don’t think we should start censoring books that someone thinks is disgusting.

I resent the fact that one person can make this kind of decision. If it isn’t appropriate for children, then it needs to be categorized differently. Let adults decide if they want to read it or not but don’t make that decision for me.

What kind of message are we sending to our students? We are saying that as adults, we are unable to decide what we want to read and we need someone, who obviously thinks she is better than us, to make this decision for us. We are saying that if someone thinks someone else’s writing is disgusting, then no one should ever read it. How do we teach critical thinking this way? Do we want our students to become robots and only read what we decide is worthy of reading? (I’m sure I read many books that others might not think is worthy of reading.) Isn’t that a form of propaganda? We don’t want them to read anything that might be disgusting so they can measure good writing next to it? How will they know what is bad or good if we only show them what someone deems as a worthy book?

I don’t have the answers to all of the questions but I sure don’t believe that censorship is the way to go. I am very disappointed that my library would act this way.

What do you think? Do you think the librarian acted in the appropriate way? Please share.

Image: 'Against Banned Books (Please Spread This Pic+&+The+Text)'
Found on


Sioux said...

Absolutely NOT! Her idea, that she can choose what others should be able to read, is disgusting.

I read "Walter the Farting Dog" books to my 3rd graders. A colleague (who, thankfully, retired years ago) was disgusted by them, thought I was wrong to read them during read-alouds, and said, "I would never say the word 'fart'."

No, she is way wrong.

=Tamar said...

It's a very complex question. In principle, it is wrong for one person to overrule the library committee to ban a book the committee had approved. On the other hand, pictures tend to have more emotional impact than print does. There is also the question of shelf placement. Would the graphic novel have been shelved with others intended for younger children, or would it have been shelved with, for instance, 50 Shades of Gray?

Pat Hensley said...

I found out that this was shelved in the adult section. The parent that complained allowed her 11 year old check this out on the parent's library card.