The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) is weighing in a controversy at a library in Texas, where a local group is seeking to remove two children's books from the shelves.
NCAC's July 13 letter to the Hood County Commissioners praises the library for not buckling to pressure to remove My Princess Boy and This Day in June, which deal with LGBT themes. The letter is co-signed by the American Booksellers for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Council of Teachers of English, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the PEN American Center's Children's and Young Adult Books Committee.
The library has reportedly received dozens of challenge forms, some of which denounce the books for promoting "perversion" and the "gay lifestyle" and others that even call for the books to be burned.
The letter explains that the First Amendment obligates libraries to hold firm against efforts to restrict the expression of ideas that some members of a community might find them offensive or disagreeable.
The NCAC also advises the Commissioners that a proposal to move the books to the adult non-fiction section is "constitutionally problematic." A 2000 federal district court ruling in Sund v. City of Wichita Falls, also in Texas, found that such a move “unconstitutionally burdens the First Amendment rights of browsing Library patrons."
"There simply is no interest, let alone a compelling one, in restricting access to non-obscene, fully-protected library books solely on the basis of the majority’s disagreement with their perceived message," the court found.
The Hood County Commissioners Court, which meets on July 14, is scheduled to include an open forum on the library censorship controversy. NCAC hopes that “the public discussion of the library issues will address these important principles and clarify the fact that they are essential to protect the rights of all members of the community to make their own decisions about what to read and how to raise their children."
Read the NCAC letter below; click here for a full-screen version
[scribd id=271476194 key=key-Vne5fCBRzMLTdLtlUwU2 mode=scroll]