Three graphic novel news items of interest

Three stories caught my eye regarding graphic novels and libraries. The good news is that the Milford public Library (NJ) has received a $3,000 grant from the state Library to grow its graphic novel collection. The money will also be used to pay for panelist visits from experts to come and talk about various aspects of graphic novels.

Over in Sioux Falls, SD, the library has pulled the graphic novel “Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Comics from an Unpleasant Age” out of general circulation after complaints were filed. The committee who reviewed the book voted unanimously that the book was inappropriate for middle school children. The book has been placed in staff collections where it continues to be available to teachers to use in the classroom, but it is no longer available for check out by students.

A couple of weeks ago, I reported that two library employees in Kentucky were fired for refusing to lend an Alan Moore graphic novel to an 11 year old patron. More details about the circumstances of the firing and the actions of the two employees have been reported. The employee, Sharon Cook, was appalled at the graphic content of the book and went through prescribed channels to have the book reviewed and pulled. When those efforts failed, she checked out the book and continued to renew the checkout in order to keep it out of circulation. At some point an unsuspecting patron put a hold on the book which disallowed Cook from renewing it again. After discussing here dilemma with another library employee, the other employee, Beth Boisver, made the decision to remove the hold thereby disallowing the patron or her parents from seeing the book. For this action, both employees were terminated. Cook has still kept the book checked out gathering a $.10 per day overdue fee. The library board has stood behind its policies that since minors should only be checking out books with parental review and has placed large posters throughout the library advising parents of their responsibilities.