Greenville librarian says decision to ban graphic novel wasn't made lightly


She read the book.

“It was disgusting,” she said, declining to label it obscene or pornographic.

She acknowledged the library has many books that deal in such detail with the very same subject matter — racism, rape, murder, sex — but for her, the pictures gave her pause.

Her decision to pull the book was the first time she had overruled her staff’s recommendation and the fifth time she had removed material from the library after a complaint.

“I call it de-selection,” she said. (Using de-selection instead of censorship is Newspeak)

Full article


So this director went through the whole Request for Reconsideration process and then ignored the result because she didn't like the book? That is, in fact, censorship. It's not professional to ignore the policies the library has in place for challenges, and it's not ethical, either. Wish we had a MLIS standards board to censure her behavior.

Moreover, was there a community member or two and a library board member on that R for R panel? I think Greenville needs some policy updating!

Their 13-page policy, available at, is pretty vague as to what their "Reconsideration" Process really entails. The article says that the review committee, which "includes a core group of representatives of the collection department, information services, access services and branch managers", and that they met and decided to keep the book with the knowledge that James has the authority to override their decision. What is the point of even having a review committee and having them go through the review process if their decision can be thrown out by one individual? Why isn't James involved in the initial review procedure? Why aren't there any library patrons, Friends, or Trustees on the review panel? The library users of Greenville, SC don't mind that two books which were paid for using public tax dollars will be "offered to a consignment company" based on the judgement of one offended patron and one offended library employee? Yes, she's the executive director, but she's still just one employee, and she's overriding however many employees were on the review committee - employees who probably have more hands-on experience working with the collection and the patrons on a daily basis than she does.

>What is the point of even having a review committee and having them go through the review process if their decision can be thrown out by one individual?

Sounds like most library committees I've been on.

Sounds like most committees I've been on, not just Library.
In nearly every walk of life and every business, government etc there is someone that can overrules what is decided elsewhere.

Not that I agree with her, but I do have a question - do all committees recommend KEEPING all books that have had requests for reconsideration?

Nope, they don't always decide to retain materials. But whether they do or not, the point is to have an open discussion and an open decision process that the community can see and refer back to. The point is to be thoughtful and transparent. I do think that it is more common for an item to be retained, or to be retained but shifted to an adult collection, than to be removed entirely, but my evidence is only anecdotal.

I am curious about whether the director at this library intends to restrict ILL of the title or not.

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