Decatur Public Library keeps explicit books despite parental requests to remove
Two community members and concerned parents, Lia Carta and Tiffany Cook, found the books in the library and asked library staff what could be done about them.
They were told to complete the library materials review form and submit it for the books to be reviewed. The women had hundreds of forms from local residents to submit within days.
“Let’s Talk About It”, a teen guide to sex, is an illustrated book that encourages minors to consume pornography and even suggests that they join “online communities” to learn more about fetishes where people share their “sexy adventures online”. It contains many explicit representations.
“Flamer”, a book about a homosexual boy, is in the young adult section. Carta considers its content highly pornographic and has stated that some sections are very demeaning to Roman Catholics.
He was the subject of protests in several school districts in Texas, including Katy and Keller.
A children’s book about puberty featuring graphic depictions of sexual acts, “It’s Perfectly Normal,” is in the children’s section near the Lego building books, Carta said.
After receiving forms asking for the books to be reconsidered, library director Dawn Wilbert said she created an ad hoc committee of library employees to review the materials in accordance with library policy.
She said many of the book objection forms could not be considered because they were not from registered library users, as required by the reconsideration policyso there were only a handful left on the committee.
Carta and Cook were also concerned about what they saw as a lack of transparency in the review process.
In a recorded phone call to Carta, Wilbert said the only book that would be removed from the collection was “It’s Perfectly Normal,” not for graphic and explicit representations, but because information about birth control and Roe vs. Wade contained in the book were obsolete. She did not commit to whether the library could acquire an updated version of the book.
“So you’re ready to delete a book if it doesn’t reflect Roe vs. Wade accurately, but if it contains pornography and explicit material, is that okay? said Carta.
Wilbert replied, “Yes.”
She went on to cite the library’s policy: “Although every citizen is free to reject for himself any material that he does not approve of, no one can exercise this right for others. Responsibility for children reading, viewing or listening to it rests with their parents and legal guardians. Selection will not be inhibited by the possibility of controversial materials coming into the possession of children.
The committee found no problem with “Flamer” because it was based on the author’s own experience.
She also said the library would keep “Let’s Talk About It” and move it back to the teen section of the adult section.
Wilbert added that the library plans to purchase several Carta-recommended books on how to talk to children about these issues, including “The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality” and “How to Talk to Your Kids about pornography”. ”
Carta also pointed out to Wilbert that the library’s collection is small and choices have to be made about what to include. “What else are you going to put in the library that my children have access to?” asked a worried Carta.
“With the small size of our library, I’m so confused [about] Why [you choose] these books when there are so many books with good values. Why these books that encourage children to watch porn? Carta posed to Wilbert.
The Decatur Library has a collection of approximately 42,264 volumes and an annual budget of just under $600,000.
A secondary materials appeal committee may be formed for further review. It is composed of the library director, the library board, and such other librarians or community members as the director deems appropriate.
After learning of the decision regarding the disputed books, Carta and Cook encouraged interested community members to attend the library board meeting, which was canceled the day before it was to be held.
Carta drafted a letter requesting further review and planned to submit it to the library on Thursday, October 6.
But Carta wonders if this review will be fair. “There should be no hesitation in bringing the views of both parties together to discuss and make a decision. He is local taxpayers who fund the library…,” Carta wrote in the letter obtained by The Texan.
“My goal is not to have to do that again. I don’t want to watch the library. I want trustworthy people with the same morals who want to protect our children,” Cook said. The Texan.
Local pastor James Varnadore thinks it’s “ridiculous” that the typically conservative community is even having this conversation.
“If parents could see the contents of these books, they would be horrified,” said Varnadore, who saw the images. The Texan.
He said describing the books as “inappropriate” is an understatement. “Pornographic would be an exact term.
He also thinks the community needs to be aware of what’s going on. “People think we live in a safe bubble in our community. That can never happen here. But it happens,” he added.
The mission of the library isenrich the life of the community by being a strong community partner and empowering citizens to access high-quality education, literature, technology, and collaborative experiences in a welcoming, community-focused facility.
Cook and Carta plan to make a presentation to Decatur City Council on Monday, Oct. 10 on the matter.
Wilbert did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication time.
Update: The city clerk’s office informed Carta on Friday that their presentation to city council was removed from Monday’s meeting agenda by the mayor who wanted to have a private meeting with Carta and Cook.