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Process to file book complaints changing at Wake County Public Libraries

The process of filing a complaint with the Wake County Public Libraries system is changing.

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By
Laura Leslie
, WRAL capitol bureau chief; Lora Lavigne, WRAL Durham reporter

The political battle over banning books took center stage at two different events today.

On Monday morning, educators and anti-censorship activists delivered a box of frequently-banned books to Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, accusing the GOP of trying to stir up controversy over banning books in schools to fire up their voters for the upcoming election.

Monday evening, the Wake County BOC discussed a new proposed process for removing books from county library shelves.

This new change is being proposed as a direct result of controversy over the removal of the book "Gender Queer" by a Wake County Public Library administrator after a complaint about it.

Patrons who feel a book or other media item should be pulled from library shelves will soon have a specific process for making that request.

The existing process had been in place since 2005, but Wake County leaders realized the library system's existing policy was outdated after controversy over the book "Gender Queer." Library managers pulled the book in December after some parents said it contained pornography, but others, including Wake County librarians, pushed back on the removal.

"Using this knowledge, staff is revising Wake County's process to make it more transparent and offer more opportunities for diverse input before making a decision," the library system said in a statement.

On Monday, county leaders got their first look at the updated version of the book removal process.

The new plan is intended to lay out a clear process that is more inclusive, including a packet with instructions for formally challenging a book that's currently available.

The complaint would go to a committee for a review and decision.

County commissioners will have a chance to ask questions at Monday's meeting before putting the new process in place.

Some local leaders will rally against book bans during the meeting, and the head of the North Carolina Association of Educators will join state Rep. Rosa Gill in delivering banned books to local conservative leaders.

The group has an appearance planned at the office of Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who has called for the removal of books, including "Gender Queer," from school libraries.

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