Library makes progress on 35 book reconsiderations

At least three commissioners at last week’s joint meeting with the Campbell County Public Library board expressed concern that the time to complete a book challenge is significantly too long.

It was a discussion that took about an hour at the meeting. The commissioners asked if that total process of a challenge could be reduced.

Library board chairperson Dr. Hollie Stewart told the commissioners that the time frame for a challenge rarely goes the distance, even, such as with the current situation, when a record amount of books are being challenged.

She reminded the commissioners that the first official form was submitted the second week of August and that it would take approximately 120 days, or four months, to exhaust all five steps in the formal challenge process at the Campbell County Public Library.

That process has been an even longer one for the commissioners, who have listened to public concerns as far back as the first week of July during their meetings in the month leading up to the submission for a formal challenge.

The first challenge was received on Aug. 9 and, with October now underway, the amount of time that has passed since then is nowhere near the 120-day mark.

As of Monday, Oct. 4, 41 working days have passed since the flood of challenges from concerned citizens were received by library staff, who have made huge strides in getting through what is becoming a mountain of reconsideration requests.

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Eighteen of the challenged books are at step 3 or higher; letters have been sent out for 16 of those titles.

Here is a list of each challenged book and what step of the process they are in:

Reconsiderations of books at Step 3 include – The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams, The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, Dating and Sex by Andrew P. Smiler, Doing It!: Let’s Talk About Sex by Hannah Witton, Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal, Music from Another World by Robin Talley, Sex Plus: Learning, Loving, Enjoying Your Body by Laci Green, My Body My Choice: The Fight for Abortion Rights by Robin Stevenson, How Do You Make a Baby? by Anna Fiske, Jack (Not Jackie) by Erica Silverman and Rainbow: A First Book of Pride by Michael Genhart, PhD.

Reconsideration of books at Step 4 that have been retained in original collection placement are – A Quick Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mandy G. and Jules Zuckerberg, This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson (Appealed to Step 5), Trans Mission: My Quest for a Beard by Alex Bertie, The V-Word: True Stories about First-Time Sex by Amber J. Keyser, Mary Wears What She Wants by Keith Negley and Meena by Sine van Mol.

Here are the steps of a challenge

Step 1. A patron who finds an item(s) in the CCPLS collection they feel should be deleted or moved, should discuss their concerns with the department manager where the item is shelved.

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Step 2. If resolution is not possible, the patron will be asked to put his/her request in writing by completing and signing the “Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials” form.

Step 3. When the completed form is returned, the manager will read the material(s) in question, retrieve reviews of the material, and write a letter of recommendation to the patron regarding its status in the library’s collection. The reviews, the manager’s recommendation, and letter will be submitted to the director for review. The director will then decide whether the material(s) will be withdrawn or retained in the collection.

Step 4. The manager will communicate this decision, and the reasons for it, in writing, to the person who initiated the request for reconsideration within 30 working days. The director will inform the Library Board of all requests for reconsideration of library materials and their disposition. Materials subject to reconsideration shall not be removed from the collection pending the final decision.

Step 5. In the event the person who initiated the request is not satisfied with the decision of the director, he/she may speak to the director. If not satisfied, the patron may appeal before the Library Board by making a request that the director place him/her on the next Library Board’s meeting agenda. The Board will determine whether the request for reconsideration has been handled in accordance with stated policies and procedures of the Campbell County Public Library System. On the basis of this determination, the Board may vote to uphold or override the decision of the director.