This Book is Gay, Stays

Banned and Challenged Books, GLBTQ

The reconsideration committee came back with a solid decision to retain the book, This Book is Gay, in the Wasilla Public Library. The Alaska Dispatch News reports that both the Wasilla Mayor, Bert Cottle and the concerned parent, Vanessa Campbell are pleased with the committee’s decision. In addition to retaining the book on the library shelf, classified as the intended Young Adult book, the library plans to reorganize the collections so that Young Adult non-fiction books are interfiled with Adult non-fiction books instead of the juvenile books. While still making books available for teens, this helps parents guide their kids toward books they’re ready for.

In last week’s post, Dustin predicted that:

  1. People will be angry and call their friends.
  2. The librarians and library board will keep the book right where it was.
  3. The city council will say they are going to review their policies.
  4. Librarians everywhere will make sure they already have this book in their collections and send moral support.
  5. The author will be grateful as book sales rise.
  6. Most people will forget and move on with their lives.

It looks like he may have been right. When I think about #6 though, I wonder about the LGBTQ teens in Wasilla. I don’t think they’ll forget. I think they will always remember the librarian who stood up for books for all people. I think they’ll be thankful that there is a library nearby that has an inclusive selection policy. They may never forget the hateful comments by their neighbors, but they will know that at the Wasilla Public Library, they will be safe.

A special thank you to the reconsideration committee for their thoughtful deliberation and conclusions:

“This Book is Gay” should stay on the shelves; the book should be reclassified to a Dewey call number for sexual education; and it should be “in a place that teens can access and feel comfortable accessing,” such as the young adult or adult sections.

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