GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- The Greenville County library system board of trustees voted on Monday to relocate sections of books that deal with parenting and early childhood farther away from the children and juvenile areas of library branches.
Greenville residents have raised concerns that books dealing with sexuality were too accessible to young children. Now all books in the library system’s parenting and early childhood collection will be located in the adult nonfiction section of libraries.
“The big thing was how the appropriateness of these books’ subject matter was to be introduced into children’s lives,” said Joe Dill, Greenville County Council. “I think that was the big issue. At what point do you introduce those things?”
Yet the big issue for advocates like Susan Ward is something she said everyone is missing.
“People are saying that these are sexually explicit books and there’s some conflation between a mention of the LGBTQ community,” said Susan Ward, president of PFLAG Greenville. “Showing a family has two moms for example has been accused of being sexually explicit. That’s not the case, it’s just a family with two moms. We have families with two moms in our community.”
In response to parents’ concerns, county councilman Joe Dill proposed a solution to the county council, which was ultimately voted down.
“I did a resolution in the county council that this be done, and the county council said that they didn’t want to get involved and they wanted the library board to do their job and that’s what they did last night,” said Dill.
This brings 24 books to the board’s attention for review. While many said they are sexually explicit, others disagreed.
“For example, there’s one about a little girl who wants to give a valentine to another little girl in her class and is nervous about it and that’s the whole story,” said Ward. “It’s a picture book for children and there’s a very similar book about Arthur, the aardvark from public television, wanting to give a valentine to someone in his class that does not cause any controversy because I believe he wants to give it to a girl.”
Joe Dill said the change finally concludes the controversy, but he awaits the answer to his original question.
“One more thing my resolution asked for was where did these come from and why were they in the library in the first place?” said Dill. “And I expect to hear that answer later on.”
Parenting and early childhood books will continue to be available for checkout by those with library cards that allow access to adult content.
While the board is not ready to make a recommendation about the books under review, the titles have been temporarily removed from circulation.