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This Book Is Gay Heads to Adult Section of Alaska Library

This Book Is Gay Heads to Adult Section of Alaska Library

Wasilla Library

But all the other young adult nonfiction books are moving too, a decision that library staffers hope will allay parental concerns without singling out the LGBT book.

After a complaint about the presence of an LGBT-themed book in the children's section, the Wasilla Public Library in Alaska is moving all of its young adult nonfiction books to a different floor.

A committee studying the issue announced Tuesday that the library will move the young adult nonfiction volumes from the children's section on the first floor to be shelved with adult nonfiction upstairs, the Alaska Dispatch News reports.

A parent had complained after her 10-year-old son found This Book Is Gay in the children's area in September. The book, by British author James Dawson, chronicles the LGBT political movement but also includes some explicit discussion of sex acts.

The mother who complained, Vanessa Campbell, said she did not object to the library having a book aimed at LGBT people, but she felt the volume's sexual content made it inappropriate for the children's section. Martin-Albright had initially decided to leave This Book Is Gay with the children's books, but Campbell appealed her decision, leading to the committee's formation.

Some Wasilla residents were less tactful in their statements than Campbell. There was often-heated discussion of the matter at a City Council meeting last month, with some likening library director Kathy "KJ" Martin-Albright to a pedophile.

Library and city administrators believe that moving all the YA nonfiction books should allay parents' concerns without singling out This Book Is Gay. The volume, they noted, will remain accessible, instead of being put behind a counter where patrons would have to ask for it. The move will be made by December 11.

"The Committee understands the parental concern on this book being placed in the Juvenile section of the library and the accidental discovery that may be made by younger children," the committee's decision states, according to the Dispatch News. "We also understand the subjective nature of age-appropriate content; and the herculean effort it would take for a librarian to segregate every controversial book to everyone's liking; and the chilling effect it would have on free speech."

Campbell told the paper she is "very pleased" with the committee's action. "I appreciate the time and effort they put into this process," she said.

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