2 Librarians Fired For Refusing Book To 12 Year Old

Two Nicholasville librarians are fired for not allowing a kid check out a book. The women say the book contains pornographic material inappropriate for children.

The two women say they were fired last month when they wouldn't let a young girl check out a book from The League of Extraordinary Gentleman series. Now, both women say they're less concerned with their jobs and more concerned with keeping material like this out of children's hands.
[Thanks Dan!]


I wrote about this on my blog.. what the librarians did was wrong, but what the ALA does is wronger. eff

How times have changed! In the 1950s and early 60s, public librraians refused many times to check out books to me from the adult section of the library. Not just "dirty" books, although you might be suyrprised to know what was considered "dirty" back then. At the time, it was thought that kids would burn their brains if they read too far ahead of their grade level. Fortunately, my mother would check out ahything I wanted to read. Thank you, Mom, and rest in peace!

Yes, times have changed. Judith Krug and the ACLU/ALA changed them with no input from the public:



Dan is wrong in at least three ways in two sentences. Let it never be said he was inefficient.

And Dan, before you chide that I "engaged in ad hominem attacks and not the substance of your argument" (how about you have never once used the term "ad hominem" correctly?) -- if I have to explain one more time why OIF =/= ALA =/= ACLU or why 50 people can't pull books out of the library that serves tens of thousands I'm just going pound my head against the wall of my cube.


If I handed out copies of Hustler to 11 year olds on the street I would be arrested and charged with some crime like contributing to the delinquency of a minor. If I do it in a library as a librarian is it OK then?

I'd like to know of any publicly funded library that actually carries Hustler. Mine doesn't.

Yes. Librarians are exempt in most places. Their political power/lobby trumps the silent public and gets such exceptions into various laws. Generally, it is probably a good thing. But sometimes it is overbroad.



1) Show me evidence that a library has been exempted from a state obscenity. Not a blog post. But a case or a section of state or Commonwealth law. You said it happens. Please show me where.

2) Anyone who thinks libraries have political power or the ALA has a real presence at the local level is, well, Dan Kleinman.

So much fail.


p.s. Bonus points: the Dan Kleinman drinking game. If Dan comes back and responds and either A) complains that I've insulted him when I haven't B) asserts that ALA controls local libraries through mechanisms known only to Dan Kleinman C) states that he and his supporters don't want to make decisions for the rest of the parents in their communities, they just want to make decisions for the rest of the parents in their community or D) incorrectly or inaccurately cites a law or court case -- take two shots of anything that will de-grease an engine and turn off your computer.

Chuck, my thoughts exactly!

First: They were not librarians, they were circulation staff.
Second: They violated Library policy, thus they were fired.
Third: There is not a public library in the US that carries Hustler magazine.

The third assertion happens to be false. Check Worldcat.org.

Walt can you give the OCLC number of the record you are looking at on Worldcat? I find several records for the publication but all the holdings point to universities of country libraries (National Library of Australia) that show holdings but no record that shows a public library. I may just be missing the correct record.

I just looked for the record with a US place of publication. Admittedly, the "public library" is NYPL, but that's still a public library.

If they were handing out Hustler ... yes.

Given your intimate knowledge of the content of both Hustler and The League of EG, anon. 11:35, I was wondering if you would be so kind to describe the similarities and differences between the two, citing specific examples. After all this is what we are talking about.

Does anyone have firsthand knowledge of the "bad" parts of the graphic novel? How explicit is it?

I am assuming that anon. 11:35 has never heard of read DH Lawrence, Bukowski, Hemingway, Marquez, McMurtry, Henry Miller, Morrison, Irving, etc. Lots and lots of sex in those books. Lots. Breasts everywhere. It's like a Nobel-winner Hooters in the library. Shocking.

Nowhere did I say that I was comparing League to Hustler so there is no need for me to analyze the two publications. The point I was making was that there needs to be a line where certain materials are not given to children. Someone posted that no public library has Hustler so there one line has been drawn.

So if Hustler is over the line and League is under the line then where is the line? There are graphic novels that are over the line. Wasn't there a news story a while back about someone be charged with having child pornography for having certain manga?

Not only do libraries need to protect children but they should watch out for their staff. Making sure that the staff is not committing a crime by distributing inappropriate materials to children. Before you flip out on me it is clear that libraries are doing this already as if you say they are not carrying Hustler.

The line is with the parents values. Many libraries have restricted cards for which the parents decide that they don't want their child checking out anything but books from the childrens' room. Otherwise the parents should be overseeing what their kids are reading. Those women were dead wrong and are proud of it. They have no place in a public library. How many other times had they intimidated kids into not checking out a book. When I was a kid that age I was ready for some novels and nonfiction from the adult room. I had read everything else. Thank goodness I was allowed the right to read at my reading level. I didn't hurt me a bit.

The line is almost always defined by obscenity laws determined by state legislatures. I'm finding in this whole thing that I am glad it is and not decided by some people posting here.

Hustler = violations of most state obscenity laws because it is designed to titillate.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen = a story told with some sex (including nudity) and violence. It is not a series that has sex or violence on every single page. I can see why some people may say it doesn't further the story by having some scenes so explicit. However, if you've seen Kevin O'Neil's drawings, then you know they aren't sexy. They are rather rudimentary.

Oh, yeah, and I've read all of this series.

that if people are worried about unsuitable material then they should get rid of the Bible. That's full of sex, incest, violence, murder, religion, satanism, worshipping of false gods, all sorts of things that children shouldn't be exposed to :P But no they give them out to anyone!

It sounds like the books weren't rated in a computerised or stamped system to show age ranges certain books were acceptable for (easy to do and still stay within Library rules). But as it stands it's right they were fired, but if there had been a system in place this wouldn't have happened.

@12:42pm: Actually the Catholic Church has a long history of denying the laity the right to read the Bible for themselves--too dangerous, as you have pointed out! That's why there is catechism--one must get The Word through an interpreter, namely the Church.

It's not my job as a librarian to tell anyone what they may NOT read. If it were, Glen Beck and Michele Malkin and Ann Coulter would not be on my shelves. It IS my job (part of it) to direct people to books and other materials that they will enjoy, find interesting, and possibly even learn from. By the time the kids got to the checkout desk, the window on that opportunity was closed. Let the kids take the books. If their parents object, then maybe the next time the parents will accompany the kids to the library.

What does the Catholic Church have to do with it?

let me guess..you sit behind the scenes while you let people that are not librarians run the show..hmm..

Anyone read the article and catch the spealling/word choice mistake?

but then again I am posting to a blog, not a commercial news outlet.

...that argument's over.

but my argument, which I believe is relevant is that Booklist (and most professional publications) list age recommendations for materials that could possibly be given out to children or purchased for school libraries, etc. in this case, Booklist says YA/M for this book.
but then the ALA says libraries are not supposed to restrict any library materials by age.
so on the one hand, they give an age recommendation, but then say you can't use it in practice. I can see how library employees can be confused.
and no, I don't think any library employee should remove a patron's hold because they don't agree with the material. but I don't think anyone should be fired for that single action, so I don't know what else happened behind the scenes.

You invoke Godwin's law, but fail to understand it. Not the least it was created as a joke, funny ha ha, to poke fun at hyperbole...not as an iron clad "Thou Shalt Not".

Wait 'til the kids want to check out R. Crumb's illustrated Book of Genesis...that's going to be a fun spectacle to watch.

Anyway, more to the point:

"so on the one hand, they give an age recommendation, but then say you can't use it in practice."

Wrong; the recommendations are for the parents to use and heed, not staff.

poster says, "you talk about sex, I say, read the bible. you talk about violence, I say, read the bible." sounds like hyperbole to me.

so I use one tool to fight another.

and parents read Booklist? a publication of the ALA for $100/yr.? really?

Parents can generally find Booklist or other reviews at their local library. We buy things - some of which are expensive - with collected community money so the community has access. The Bible is filled with sex, death, and violence as well as good lessons and morale teachings (many of which can be misconstrued) as is with just about everything else in the 200-300's not to mention most of the worthwhile reading in the reference section. The comic is no worse then most of the classical writings in those sections I was reading at 12.

First, these women are not librarians, they are support staff who were not authorized or trained to make decisions about collection development or readers' advisory. If they had concerns that should have told their supervisor(s) and let those with authority make the decision. They had no right to make that decision.

They may not be libraians but obviously the collection development team has a problem choosing materials. The decisions made were horribly inapproriate and the managers or librarians should be more aware of the teens and children in the community.

Were they too reading it?

I believe the problem lies with the librarians that are making the book selection for the library. They could choose something more approriate for the community than a smutty graphic novel for teens. The parents are not always aware of what the children are reading so the some of the responsibilty must lie on the library in question. How many of the "librarians" are concerned about the children and teens in this particular community. Do the managers there even live in that county? It seems like this library has a management problem of creating a business like atmosphere when it should provide a service for the families that is positive. I stand up for the employees that took a stand against the book and the fact that library fired them is ridiculous. How would they like it if they were judged so harshly such as nationality, religious beliefs, or sexual preference? Maybe we should show the book to their kids.

Is your point that you have lots of questions that you don't know the answers to? I've got $100 that says you don't know who Alan Moore is, what "League" is or what the "objectionable" pages consist of.

But, you know, when in doubt, make assumptions and have a tantrum, right?

Half way down the blog. He has some good points in this discussion.

Jessamine library to move its collection of graphic novels"

"The graphic novel that got two employees fired and launched a book-banning campaign in Jessamine County is being recataloged, along with other graphic novels with mature themes, to the adult section of the library.
"The move was prompted by recent public outcry about censorship, book placement and whether certain books belong in the Jessamine County collection.

"In recent weeks, [library director Ron] Critchfield, ... has been threatened with physical harm because of his defense of a library's duty to provide material that not everyone approves of.

Yes the (comic) book does depict a few scenes of full-frontal female nudity....in color of the heroine & the hero...as well as a excerpt of "Fanny Hill".

But is sure is not up to those two Nosy Parkers to decide who is or isn't allowed to read anything. It is up to that child's parents. If I was the parent, my child wouldn't be reading it. But as a Librarian (I just now read the book because their actions peaked my curiosity and you know I HAD to read it), I wouldn't pull it out of the library's collection either.

I have to say, because of their um...."puritanical prudence" many people are reading it, just to see for themselves what is really so offensive! LOL!


It seems like the librarians at JCPL are getting their feathers puffed up for no reason. Maybe they should have thought about what smut they were purchasing with community dollars in the first place. It seems like out all of these threads are full of sarcasm and personal feelings. It has nothing to with religion but they are making it seem so..let me guess, they listen to NPR all day, judge people who have differences of religious views and just graduated from Library school. I know a lot more of the inside view than they realize and this isn't the first time they have removed materials that they thought were not up to moral code..it is just the first time they were caught buying this crap. What do they go buy to buy this stuff? Did someone request it?