On April 12, 2006, San Bernardino County Supervisor Bill Postmus ordered Paul Gravett’s Manga: Sixty years of Japanese comics removed from all San Bernardino County public libraries. The removal of the book was clearly based on objections to its content, i.e. a few sexually explicit drawings in a section about a manga subgenre.
The critically acclaimed Manga: Sixty years of Japanese comics is one of the few introductions to the history of the genre of Japanese comics from 1945 to the present. Gravett’s history covers an extremely wide range of topics: from the specific attributes of manga in contrast to American and European comics and the genres of girls’ and women’s comics to manga’s role as a major Japanese export and global influence. Clearly, when it was ordered, the book met the criteria that form the basis for the library’s collection development policy. Having been checked out 128 times in less than a year (according to press reports), it has also received the community vote.
Removing the book because of the sexual content of a small section not only entirely fails to consider the indisputable value of book as a whole, but also ignores the library’s obligation to serve all kinds of readers, including those who seek access to information about erotic art.
Here’s How You Can Get Involved:
The book is now unavailable to all readers, including adults. Your voice is needed to keep this important book in the library! Don’t let politicians impose their personal moral views to limit what materials adults can find in their local public library!
You can contact Supervisor Postmus at SupervisorPostmus@sbccounty.gov or fax: 909-387-3029.
You can contact County Librarian Ed Kieczykowski at phone: 909-387-5728.
» Artist and author Paul Gravett tracks the controversy and includes links to relevant press.