Singapore: National Library Board Chief Executive ‘Saddened By’ Reaction Over Its Removal of Three Books
More on the removal of three books by the National Library Board of Singapore (public libraries) for not not being “pro-family”. Three new articles follow.
1. NLB ‘saddened by’ reaction over its removal of three books with homosexuality themes, says chief executive (via The Sunday Times/Straits Times)
The National Library Board did not anticipate the widespread dismay that greeted news that it had removed three children’s books following complaints about their homosexual themes, chief executive Elaine Ng said yesterday.
She told The Sunday Times in an interview that she was saddened that several local writers have withdrawn from library-related events in protest. “I’m saddened by their disappointment in us. I would like to engage those who have worked with us for a long time and hope they will accept our outstretched hands in future,” she said.
The prevailing norms, which the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans accept, support teaching children about conventional families, but not about alternative, non-traditional families, which is what the books in question are about,” Minister of Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said Friday.
He added: “Societies are never static, and will change over time. But NLB’s approach is to reflect existing social norms, and not to challenge or seek to change them.”
The National Library Board (NLB) has received at least one offer to buy all copies of the three children’s books it removed this year, as well as suggestions to donate them to groups willing to carry them.
But chief executive Elaine Ng said yesterday: “That’s not something that we’re thinking about at the moment. We appreciate all the suggestions, we’re grateful for all the caring critics who have taken the trouble to share their thoughts.
“This is something we’ve withdrawn and at the moment we are staying with that decision.”
UPDATE: Worth noting that this is not the first time books have been removed from the NLB collection this year.
Removal of children’s titles from libraries not first time (via Straits Times)
The Straits Times has learnt that there were at least three more children’s books that were also recently banned. Written by American author Robie H. Harris, they have to do with sex education and are meant for children aged four and above.
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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.