The Kids’ Right to Read Project opposed challenges in Leesburg Public Library, after 2 parents objected to the inclusion of certain titles in the Young Adult section of the library. On June 10th, the Leesburg Library Advisory Board refused to move these Young Adult books into the adult section of the library or to give them advisory labels. Library Director Barbara Morse cited the presence of similar themes on television, and parents’ right to decide what is appropriate for their own children, as reasons for the petition’s rejection.
To view the Kids’ Right to Read Project’s April 7, 2009 letter to the Leesburg Advisory Board, click here.
Kids’ Right to Read interviewed author, Maureen Johnson, about her response to the challenge in Leesburg against her book The Bermudez Tirangle. Click here, to see what she had to say.
Library Advisory Board
Leesburg Public Library
100 East Main Street
Leesburg, FL 34748
July 7, 2009
Dear Members of the Leesburg Public Library Advisory Board,
We applaud your June 10th decision to retain copies of The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson and Only in Your Dreams: A Gossip Girl Novel by Ceicly von Ziegesar in the Young Adult section of the Leesburg Public Library without removing, relocating, labeling or otherwise restricting access. It is our view that the Library Board acted appropriately in defense of free speech. We congratulate the Leesburg Public Library, and its Director, Barbara Morse, on a job well done.
We also recognize and respect the complainants’ right to appeal. However, we would like to caution that the right to appeal does not imply that a majoritarian view can be imposed on all through a referendum. Indeed, the First Amendment is designed specifically to protect the rights of minority viewpoints and protect against the “tyranny of the majority.” We trust that the City Commission will respect and affirm the Library Board’s decision, keeping in mind that the library serves all members of the community, who have widely divergent views, interests, tastes, and preferences.
Thank you for respecting the right of Young Adult library patrons to read The Bermudez Triangle and Only in Your Dreams: A Gossip Girl Novel and for standing by First Amendment principles. Individual freedom, democracy, and a good education all depend on protecting the right to read, inquire, question and think for ourselves.
National Coalition Against Censorship
American Booksellers Foundation
for Free Expression