Censorship versus inappropriateness

Submitted by Linda and Bob Graff
Posted 10/5/21

Dear Editor:

In the Sept. 30 issue of the Powell Tribune, there is an article about the Campbell County Public Library and a county commissioner who would like to pull funding from that library …

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Censorship versus inappropriateness

Posted

Dear Editor:

In the Sept. 30 issue of the Powell Tribune, there is an article about the Campbell County Public Library and a county commissioner who would like to pull funding from that library because of the inappropriateness of a book he found there.

We do not believe that funding should be pulled from any library because books are so important. Sadly, our libraries are not used as much as they used to be because there is so much on the internet, but as long as printed and bound books exist libraries should also exist. After all, when the power goes out what are you going to read?

While we do believe that our children are being exposed too early to sexual content of all kinds, the library is the least of our worries. Home life (or lack thereof), the internet and television give more exposure to our kids than any library.

What Commissioner Del Shelstad did was give that book the best free publicity it could ever have. And he brought attention to the other books that might or might not be inappropriate. Both adults and children will be on the lookout now for that book and others like it — and not necessarily for good reasons.

There are many things out there that we personally feel should be censored, but we don’t believe in censorship so we must accept that they will still be available to one and all in some form or fashion.

While we don’t know what the answer is to this problem, we certainly acknowledge that it is a problem for our libraries. Unfortunately, any time you set aside any book for special placement it will bring attention to all the books that seem inappropriate for certain age groups.

A library is a place for freedom, education, exploration and stumbling. Losing any library takes away a choice that people have to educate themselves — to be armchair explorers or to stumble upon authors they might not discover otherwise.

So, in short, Commissioner Shelstad wants to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” by his suggestion of defunding the Campbell County Library. The library is a public forum and in that light some discretion needs to be employed by the governing individuals for inclusion of certain printed material. Don’t vilify the institution, but employ some realistic guidelines for which books should be purchased with tax dollars.

There is a fine line to walk balancing censorship to “filtering” of inappropriate material, particularly if children are patrons of the library. Of course, “inappropriate” material is in the eye of the beholder, and this has been a controversial topic forever.

Linda and Bob Graff

Powell

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