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In honor of banned books week… September 26, 2008

Posted by cynhudson in Library Stuff.

If you thought challenged books were a thing of the past, think again!  In honor of banned books week beginning tomorrow, I thought I might take a minute to discuss the ongoing book challenge currently being waged in the St. Louis County Library system.

Some time late last year a local mother found what she deemed as sexually suggestive and explicit materials in the YA section of the Daniel Boone branch.  These books, included among others, Growing Up Gay in America by Jason R. Rich, The Little Black Book for Girlz: A Book on Healthy Sexuality, and Some Like It Hot by Zoey Dean.  Believing them to be too mature for the YA section, she not only petitioned the library to have them moved to the adult section, but also contacted the county council in an attempt to have them identified as obscene.  According to The School Library Journal, the mother even went so far as to create a “fake” display of the materials and post it online as though it was library created.  Ultimately, the county council found that the books in question did not violate obscenity laws and the library has removed one book from the YA section.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the mother has most recently joined up with a local chapter of Citizens Against Pornography to request that the County Library establish an adult advisory committee to screen new library acquisitions.  In addition to this, the group is requesting that the library set up some type of system in which parents must approve the circulation of any objectionable materials to their children, that the library develop a rating system for books, and finally that the books in question be moved to the adult section.

In response, the County Library has agreed to hold a meeting on September 29, 2008 to discuss the complaints filed by Citizens Against Pornography.  Reaction from the public has been predominately in favor of the library and ALA believes that historical legislation protecting the first amendment will be on the library’s side.

STLtoday has posted some excerpts from the books if you are interested in checking them out.

Revision Note:  This post incorrectly listed that after the 2007 incident no books were removed from the YA section.  In fact, one book “Growing up Gay in America” was removed and placed in the adult section.  My apologies for the error.


Bertin, Joan.  “Challenges to Young Adult books in St. louis county library“.  Letter to St. Louis County Council on behalf of the National Coalition Against Censorship. 09/24/07.

Corrigan, Don.  “Parents Support Libraries In Book Controversy“.  Webster-Kirkwood Times.  09/12/08.

I-Team Investigates. “Book Dispute Flairs in St. Louis County“.  KDSK.com.  09/26/08.

Murphy, Kevin.  “Do You Know What Your Teen May Be Reading?“.  South County Times. 08/22/08.

Palleschi, Amanda.  “Anti-porn group challenges library“.  St. Louis Post Dispatch. 09/24/08.



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