Library trustees to hold hearing on novels

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

The Marshall Public Library Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 4, to hear a request to remove material from the library.

Louise Mills of Marshall is requesting that two graphic novels -- "Fun Home," by Alison Bechdel and "Blankets," by Craig Thompson -- be removed from the library because she feels that the books are inappropriate. Mills has filed forms with the library to request the removal of the books. Mills could not be reached for comment Tuesday, Oct. 3.

The public hearing will be in the library.

Marshall Public Library Director Amy Crump said that almost any book in the library can be seen as "offensive" to someone.

"Any time a person or one group of people are allowed to mandate what information is available to an entire community, you find yourself on the slippery slope of censorship," Crump said.

Crump said that part of her responsibilities as the director of the library is to be a "guardian of people's freedom to read," as put forth in "The Freedom to Read Statement" by the American Library Association. The statement is included as part Marshall Public Library's policy

"While I respect the right of every person to have their own opinion on what materials they view as acceptable, I most firmly believe that our country was founded in an attempt to move away from censorship. It is every American patriot's duty to uphold the most fundamental document of our country -- the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment," Crump said, adding, "Any member of the community who wishes to make a stand against censorship is invited to attend the public hearing and make their voices heard."

At the hearing each person who desires to speak will be allowed to do so. Speaking time is not to exceed five minutes, though a second opportunity to speak will be allowed if time permits.

The board will listen to all views, and be allowed to ask questions of the speaker and in return the speakers may ask questions of the board members. A decision by the board will be made at the next board meeting on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.

All Marshall Public Library Board of Trustees meetings are open to the public.

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