Sunday, April 07, 2024

Oconee County Library Board To Consider Two More Requests To Move Books In Oconee County Library

***Total Requests In Last Year Now Stands At 12***

At its 4:30 p.m. meeting tomorrow (April 8) at the Bogart Library, the Oconee County Library Board of Trustees will take up two new Requests for Reconsideration of books in the Oconee County Library filed by Oconee County citizens.

Rebecca Billings has asked the Board of Trustees to move the book Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman from the Young Adult to the Adult Section.

Laura Stimson has asked the Board of Trustees to move Other Boys by Damien Alexander from the Juvenile to the Young Adult section.

The Reconsideration Review Committee of the Athens Regional Library System is recommending that Nick and Charlie remain in the Young Adult Section, but that Other Boys be reclassified to the Young Adult section as Stimson requested.

The Reconsideration Review Committee is made up of professional librarians, and its recommendations go to a Book Action Committee of the Oconee County Library Board of Trustees.

The full Board is scheduled to receive the recommendation of the Book Action Committee before it takes a final decision at the meeting tomorrow.

Nick and Charlie

Billings said in her Request for Reconsideration, which she filed on Nov. 22 of last year, that she discovered Nick and Charlie by doing an author search.

Board To Consider Two New Requests

She said that “I’ve read the book,” and that what “concerns” her about the book is that it contains “Lots of talk about sex, underage drinking.”

She wrote that the “Book has large font (looks like it’s for Juveniles) but the subjects are actually high school age.”

The Young Adult section is for books for those aged 11 to 18.

The Reconsideration Review Committee wrote that “We did not find a lot of talk about sex,” that “There are no sex scenes in the book,” and “Any mention of sexual activities are non-explicit.”

“There is a scene in which one character, 17, gets drunk at a party, while his romantic counterpart, 18, does not drink so that he can drive them both home,” the Reconsideration Review Committee report states.

“The drinking age in the United Kingdom, where the story takes place, is 18,” the report continues. “The story does not glorify underage drinking. The character suffers consequences and later apologizes for getting drunk, recognizing that his actions had damaged their relationship.”

“The Review Committee recommends keeping the book in the Young Adult section,” the report states.

Other Boys

Stimson said she discovered Other Boys from a book review, after which she read the book.

“A book about bullying can be relatable to a younger reader but when addressing it in relation to sexuality then the location of this book matters,” Stimson wrote in stating what “concerns” her about the book. She filed her request on Nov. 20 of last year.

Stimson wrote that the “writing style is way too advanced” and that the final 160 pages of the book “explore same sex attraction (pages listed), gay bashing (pages listed), pronoun usage (page listed), then thoughts on dying (page listed). Totally inappropriate material for a juvenile section.”

The book is in the Juvenile section, which is for ages up to and including age 10.

“Juvenile books very commonly include characters who have crushes on other characters,” the Reconsideration Review Committee wrote in its report. “We would not treat same-sex crushes any differently than opposite-sex crushes. Both are commonly experienced at the elementary level and written about in children’s literature.”

“The review committee finds that the intended audience indicates that this book is directed more toward young teens and should be moved to the YA section,” the report states.

“Using established criteria, we try our best to place books where they can be found easily by the audience who will most likely be looking for them,” the report continues. “When ordering 11,000-15,000 books per year, we do make mistakes and are happy to reclassify a book if we see that an error was made in the selecting/ordering process. “

“This is a title that the library would have been happy to move to YA based on our established criteria, without the book having to go through the formal reconsideration process,” according to the Committee report. “Hence, we encourage patrons to (respectfully) bring titles to the attention of a librarian in-person prior to submitting a reconsideration form.”

History Of Requests

The two requests to be considered on Monday are the 11th and 12th the Oconee County Library Board of Trustees has handled in the last year.

The Board of Trustees in January voted to accept the recommendation of the professional review committee and to reject the requests that four books in the Oconee County Library be reclassified because of their content.

At the October meeting, the Board voted to move two books from Young Adult to Adult, move one books from Juvenile to Young Adult, and retain one books in Young Adult and another in Juvenile.

In July, the Board had voted to move a book from Young Adult to Adult.

The agenda for the meeting tomorrow lists public comment as the first item after the meeting is called to order at 4:30 p.m.

The decision on the two Requests for Reconsideration of Materials comes under New Business is near the end of the meeting.

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