A children’s book has been removed from the shelf and put on the watch list in Alabama because the author’s last name is ‘Gay.’
Marie-Louise Gay is the author of the picture book ‘Read Me a Story, Stella’, which is about a brother and sister who read books together and build a doghouse.
It was put on the list of ‘sexually explicit’ books by Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, reported AL.com. The contents of the book depict nothing about sex.
Gay’s publicist Kirsten Brassard said that the author’s books have never been ‘mistakenly censored.’
‘Although it is obviously laughable that our picture book shows up on their list of censored books simply because the author’s last name is Gay, the ridiculousness of that fact should not detract from the seriousness of the situation,’ Brassard said.
Marie-Louise Gay’s book ‘Read Me a Story, Stella’ was published in 2013 and has now been put on the list of ‘sexually explicit’ books by Huntsville-Madison County Public Library system
Kirsten Brassard, Marie-Louise Gay’s (pictured) publicist said that the author’s books have never been ‘mistakenly censored’
On the order of executive director Cindy Hewitt (pictured), books in the library had to be cross-referenced with the Alabama Public Library Service of challenged titles, and then displayed on a spreadsheet.
Alyx Kim-Yohn, the circulation manager at the library, said the branch manager made them move the book to an adult section of the library, according to the Alabama Political Reporter.
On the order of executive director Cindy Hewitt, books in the library had to be cross-referenced with the Alabama Public Library Service of challenged titles, and then displayed on a spreadsheet.
After some digging, Kim-Yohn found that there was no cross-reference, and instead, books were weeded out based on keywords like ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’, ‘gender’ and ‘identity.’
Hewitt soon admitted that the book should’ve never been added to the list and only was because of the word ‘gay.’
‘We wanted to be proactive and allow our library staff to look at our collection and make decisions about moving material to an older age group and not have someone from outside dictating that for us,’ Hewitt said.
She added the library considers public opinion, but ‘our librarians are trained in collection development, and it should be their responsibility to examine the collection and make those changes.’
Gay’s book was just one of 233 books lined up to be reviewed and possibly removed.
Gay’s book was just one of 233 books lined up to be reviewed and possibly removed
Alyx Kim-Yohn, the circulation manager at the library, said the branch manager made them move the book to an adult section of the library
Hewitt said their banned book list was designed around the Clean Up Alabama initiative, which is ‘dedicated to safeguarding the well-being and innocence of children by advocating for a safe and enriching environment in the children’s sections of our public libraries,’ according to the initiative’s website.
‘In the past few years, many Alabama libraries have been stocking their shelves with books intended to confuse the children of our communities about sexuality and expose them to material that is inappropriate for them. We believe it is the job of parents to determine when and how their children are exposed to sexual topics’, the website added.
However, Gay’s publicist hit back at the message.
This is a hateful message in a place like a public library, where all children are meant to feel safe, and where their curiosity about the world is meant to be nurtured,’ Gay’s publicist said.
Hewitt herself said that she enjoyed that book and that it shouldn’t be removed from the young adult section.
Banned books are often young adult fiction texts, typically those dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer themes or with queer protagonists, as well as those that tackle race and identity.
AL.com revealed that they received a copy of the book review list from the Madison branch library ‘and found that 91 percent of 233 titles had the words lesbian, gay, transgender, gender identity, or gender non-conforming in the subject header, which lists numerous themes for each book.’
Kim-Yohn has refused to go along with this new list as they admitted that queer or not, it violated their ethics.
‘The decision had been made. There was no debate. There’s no conversation. This is what was happening,’ Kim-Yohn said.
“Why are we just unilaterally moving all of this before anyone’s even complained about these books yet?’
Kim-Yohn also hopes that Hewitt apologizes for her mistake as many of the books on this new censored list at the Alabama library have previously been checked out and renewed 8,000 times.
‘We understand and appreciate our community, and the needs of our collection to reflect our community. We were never eliminating any book. We were just looking at it as a whole,’ Hewitt said.
Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com