Proposal to Move LGBTQ Kids' Book Sparks Censorship Fears
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Efforts to move children's and young adult books with LGBTQ content to the adult section of a Northeast Arkansas public library have some local residents concerned about censorship.
At the Jonesboro Public Library, the latest book in a monthslong battle over children's books mentioning sexuality and other themes is "All Boys Aren't Blue," a young adult memoir by George M. Johnson which follows his journey growing up gay and Black.
Valerie Carroll, former library employee, organizer with Citizens Defending the Craighead County Library and a parent, thinks having such stories accessible while young people explore their own identities is crucial.
"When it comes to the library and Arkansas, LGBTQ youth in this area know that the community and the culture is, in a lot of ways, actively hostile to them," Carroll pointed out. "I think it's hugely important that there is some place where a teenager can go to see themselves. And if that place is the library, that's a beautiful thing."
The Jonesboro Library board voted three-to-two against a proposal to move the book to the adult section. "All Boys Aren't Blue" has been removed from libraries in several states, where its critics have argued the subject matter is too explicit, and parents should be the ones to decide if it's appropriate reading for their kids.
Vanessa Adams, director of the Jonesboro Public Library, said she doesn't think the issue will end with the vote to defeat the proposal. She predicts it will likely come up again at next month's board meeting.
"Moving the books is actually a form of censorship," Adams asserted. "And the reason that we hesitate to do that is because that's just the beginning. It's a slippery slope, and we don't know where it would end up. And so, that's what concerns librarians."
Adams said the library hopes to reach a compromise, with plans already in the works to create a focus group to discuss options. She hopes the issue can be resolved in the coming months when the library returns to in-person programming as COVID cases wane.
get more stories like this via email
Many of California's 13.5 million children and teens have not bounced back after the pandemic, especially children of color, according to the just-…
Americans continue to report low trust in mainstream media, with many younger than 30 saying they trust information from social media nearly as much …
A Minnesota House committee heard testimony Thursday about the governor's proposed spending plan for education. As these talks unfold, public polling …
Health and Wellness
Health-care professionals say low pay and a worker shortage have led a dramatic number of nursing homes in rural Iowa to close their doors. They hope …
Health and Wellness
Health-care professionals and advocates in Connecticut have said it will take sweeping reforms to bolster the state's flailing public health system…
In her fifth State of the State address this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer emphasized policies designed to put more money in Michiganders' pockets…
By nearly every measure, voter fraud in U.S. elections is rare, but that isn't stopping the Texas Legislature from considering dozens of bills this …
A Republican-sponsored bill in the Arkansas Legislature would make it illegal to circulate petitions at or near polling places during elections…