Local News

Raleigh Mom Finds School Library Book Inappropriate

Posted October 2, 2000

— What would you do if your 9-year-old daughter came home with a book from her school library that talked about sex? It happened to one Wake County family, and a mother was able to have the book pulled off the shelves.

Wake County says books in its schools are carefully reviewed before they are put on the shelf, Therefore, it takes a lot to get them off the shelf.

Tara Britt is not deterred. She says the book her daughter brought home fromWest Lake Elementary Schoolis not appropriate for a 9-year-old.

"One of the main chapters of the book was labeled sex," she says.

This got Britt's attention. When she started reading the book, more sexual references caught her eye.

The "All But Alice" series by Phyllis Naylor was the second-most-challenged set of books nationwide in 1999.

The publisher says it is appropriate for fifth- through eighth-graders. Britt wants to know why her fourth-grader had access to it.

"It's very important to me. While I don't believe in censorship as a whole, I believe in books at a public school, they should be age-appropriate for that school," she says.

Media Services Director Jane Parker says the books on school library shelves are carefully chosen by a committee which relies on of reviews.

However, she says parents have the right to challenge any book.

"We really welcome parents to be involved in students' education," Parker says. "We want parents to know what their children are reading and to read with them."

Britt says her goal wasnotto have it banned completely.

"I think it's age-appropriate for a middle school, but not for an elementary school," she says.

Book-reconsideration forms are available at all Wake County Public School libraries.

A committee made up of librarians, teachers, and parents review the requests and makes a decision.

Over the last decade, nearly 6,000 book challenges were recorded by the American Library Association'sOffice for Intellectual Freedom. Here are the top reasons why books were challenged:

  • More than 1,400 challenges were made against books for sexually explicit material.
  • More than 1,200 for books considered to use offensive language.
  • More than 1,100 challenges were made because the material was considered unsuited to an age group.

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