In fact, many of them contain the sorts of things you might not want a young child to see. Like video games, the market for comic books and graphic novels has a broader demographic appeal than 50 or 60 years ago.

If your child does read, say, the dark and graphic work Neonomicon by Alan Moore, however, the answer may be to better track what he or she is reading. The answer should not be to call for the book to be yanked from the public library altogether. Especially considering it was already housed on the adult shelves because it is, you know, a book for adults.

This is more or less the sequence of events for a challenge to Neonomicon in the public library in Greenville, SC. Greenville mother Carrie Gasko was alarmed after her 14-year-old daughter (who is authorized for an adult library card) checked the book out of the library. Assuming, because of the pictures, that it was a book for kids, she seemingly didn’t take a close look at the book. When she realized the novel contained adult themes, she filed a complaint, saying that library books should have a rating and that the book didn’t belong in the library. Evidently she has also refused to return the checked-out copy to the library.

NCAC and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression joined forces with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in writing a letter letting the library know we were watching the case and that it was in their best First Amendment-protecting interests to leave the book on the shelves.

In the letter, (you can see it here) we referenced our guide to Graphic Novels for librarians. Hopefully the library will utilize these guidelines to address Ms. Gasko’s concern and uphold the right of other adults to access the book — which is award-winning, by the way — at their pleasure.