January 18, 2022

Erotic Fairytale First Book Pulled From the New Zealand National Library for Being Too Explicit

Fairfax New Zealand incorrectly reported the story. Here are two updates.

UPDATED Post October 21 With Comment From National Library of New Zealand

The story “Fairytale sex off the shelves” in the Sunday Star Times and Stuff (20 October 2013) is incorrect in saying that the graphic novel Lost Girls was ‘pulled from the National Library Catalogue’. The story has now been corrected online. In fact, as National Library never owned a copy of the work, it was never in the National Library Catalogue. National Library was not involved in any decision to remove the work from any other catalogue. National Library does not restrict access to its holdings except under law. Where publications are classified National Library records the classifications and stores material in such a way that it can meet the requirements of the law. National Library was not approached by the Sunday Star-Times or by Stuff before the story was published.

UPDATE 2: This story actually involves Auckland Libraries and North Shore Libraries in NZ. See these posts from several months ago. 

Note that the Stuff.co.nz version of the story has been amended/corrected. However, the story was published on other newspaper web sites and many have not be amended/corrected at this time. Here’s an example.

Original Story (Corrections Above)

From Fairfax NZ News (via Stuff.co.nz):

A graphic novel [Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie] that depicts the sexual encounters of fairytale heroines has made history as the first book pulled from the New Zealand National Library catalogue for being too explicit. The book has never been classified by the censor and the decision of the library to self-censor has angered those who say libraries should be champions of literary freedom. [Clip] Louise LaHatte, regional collections manager for Auckland City Libraries, said the book had never gone to the Office of Film and Literature Classification but the library was worried if the book was referred to the censor it would be found objectionable – meaning the library had broken the law. The library purchases more than 500,000 books each year and never sends them to the censor; unlike films, books get classified only if someone thinks they are offensive and demands they be checked. The library did not want to send Lost Girls to the censor itself for fear it could be perceived as an attempt to ban the book.

Read the Complete Article

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.