Greensboro, N.C. - Parents, community members and even students occasionally complain about the content of books on shelves of school and public libraries. Some become so upset or bothered by a particular book, they request staff to ban or remove the book. However, News 2 was unable to find any local library that has agreed to remove a book from its collection.
A parent recently complained to the Greensboro Public Library about a book titled, "Dick and Jane and Vampires." A parent thought it was too scary to be in the children's section. However, a Greensboro Public Library committee disagreed.
If you think a book should be banned or removed from library, you can pick up a "request for reconsideration" form at any location. Then, a library committee and a citizens committee will review your objection. The library director has the final word. No one at the library can recall any books that have been removed or banned.
Collection Manager Tim Cole said, "The library is committed to intellectual freedom and freedom of access. That's what we're all about. But, we, none the less, have a process in place where folks can challenge materials."
Public schools have similar policies. Guilford County Schools told WFMY News 2 parents can and do challenge books. In the past five years, parents have challenged two books: "Hoops" and "The House of Spirits." Several parents felt "Hoops" contained racism and "House of Spirits" had inappropriate sexual content.
Guilford County Schools Director Virtual Learning & Media Services William Morgan said, "We don't want to sit and tell someone that a book is good for them or not good for them. Different people are mature at different levels."
In Guilford County Schools, a committee of parents, teachers, administrators and even students reviews complaints. Next, it moves on to the district level. The school board is the final option.
In the past twenty years, only one book has been challenged all the way to school board: "Old Gringo." District staff said they could not recall the specific objections to that book. But, the board ultimately decided to keep the book in the schools.
Guilford County Schools Policies:
Selection of Instructional Materials IFA
Selection of Instructional Materials/Educational IFA-P
Forsyth County Schools Policies:
Alamance-Burlington Schools Policies:
"We don't have a list of banned books but we do have a selection policy (Board Policy 4.12.1; .2 & .3) that each school must follow when adding books to their collection. Each school has a Media and Technology Advisory Committee composed of a minimum of the following: a school administrator, the media specialist(s), a parent representative, and at least three teachers representing various grade levels and subject areas. This committee assists in long-range planning for instructional resources, in selecting resources, and in resolving objections to materials. This committee is also the first level of response to any challenge to the use of certain instructional materials within the school."
Forsyth County Public Library Policies:
Collection development at the Forsyth County Public Library is based on the principles of intellectual freedom and equal access for all. The Library provides a collection that balances viewpoints across a broad spectrum of opinion and subject matter. Using selection practices that are flexible and responsive to the changing needs of the community, the Library builds and maintains collections for the general public while recognizing the needs of special population groups.
GUIDELINES FOR SELECTION
Collection development and management decisions are based solely on the merit of the work as it relates to the Library's mission and its ability to meet the expressed or anticipated needs and interests of the community. Library materials are not marked, identified or sequestered to show approval or disapproval of the contents. The library will always be guided by a sense of responsibility to both present and future users in adding materials which enrich the collection and maintain overall balance.
The Library recognizes that some materials are controversial and that a particular item may offend some library customers. Selections are not made because of anticipated approval or disapproval, but solely on the merits of the work in relation to collection-building and to serving the interests of Forsyth County citizens. The selection of an item for the Library's collection does not constitute an endorsement of its contents.
For more information, you can also visit the Banned Books Week website.