South Carolina: Greenville Librarian Says Decision to Ban Graphic Novel Wasn’t Made Lightly
From The Greenville News:
Beverly James is a diminutive woman with a soft voice and a kind face.
In a wool suit, nicely accessorized, sitting in the boardroom of the Hughes Main Library, she looks every bit the librarian she is.
She’s also a woman who is standing up to a national backlash among organizations that fight book banning and from fans of award-winning author Alan Moore, who say her decision to take his graphic novel out of circulation at the Greenville County Library is nothing short of censorship.
“I’m not going to change my mind,” she said in the first expansive interview she’s given since she decided to take Moore’s “Neonomicon” out of circulation in December.
In the interview that includes video and a list of other books/videos challenged at the Greenville Public Library, James talks about the process she used to remove the book and overruling a committee of other librarians who wanted to keep the title.
James researched the author, the reviews of the book and checked worldcat.org to see how many libraries in the United States had the book. The website indicates about 100 — public and university — of more than 100,000 libraries in the country.
None are in South Carolina. The closest are public libraries in Charlotte and Atlanta.
She read the book.
“It was disgusting,” she said, declining to label it obscene or pornographic.
She acknowledged the library has many books that deal in such detail with the very same subject matter — racism, rape, murder, sex — but for her, the pictures gave her pause.
Her decision to pull the book was the first time she had overruled her staff’s recommendation and the fifth time she had removed material from the library after a complaint.
“I call it de-selection,” she said.
Much More in the Complete Interview, View Video
A Brief Note to Lyn Riddle, Author of the Article:
In the second graph of your interview with Beverly James you write, “looks every bit the librarian she is.” In the future could you avoid reinforcing the stereotype about how a librarian looks. Librarians don’t have a specific look as is the case with journalists, doctors, lawyers, educators, nurses, and other professionals.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.