Thursday, October 22, 2009

Alan Moore and the librarians.

It seems that two librarians were fired from the Jessamine County Public Library for keeping a 12-yr-old girl from checking out The League of Extraordinary Gentleman: The Black Dossier. Actually, the story doesn't mention the title, but I'm pretty sure that's it.

I don't know if you've seen this book, but I wouldn't have ordered if for my library if I'd known what was in it. And I mean the removable 3D glasses.

Our library has a few movies on DVD that are presented in 3D and I don't know what happens when people check them out and find that there are no glasses included because some ass took them long ago. Like Coraline. But luckily, that movie includes the standard 2D version, so the glasses aren't essential.

So I don't like buying books that include something that's designed to be lost. Like books with removable thingies, like Batman: Murder at Wayne Manor. And what was that book from the Nineties that was just removable postcards? Griffin & Sabine! Oh, man, what a headache that was with all that crap falling out of the pages.

The two Nicholasville, KY librarians, Beth Bovaire and Sharon Cook reviewed The Black Dossier and Sharon said, "'look at this book it's filthy and it's on hold for an 11 year old girl,' and I said well okay, lets take it off hold."

FYI: Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association says in its review of The Black Dossier, "YA/M: Sex and violence require some maturity."*

I own The Black Dossier. I haven't read it, but I have a copy right here and I just looked at the 3D stuff. There's a fake Tijuana Bible and newly discovered pages from Fanny Hill with illustrations of some characters having sex. If I were too young to know what sex was, I might think that the people in the pictures were pretending to be chairs or sofas and the other people were trying to lie in them, meaning there are no actual pee-pees poking into hoo-haas. There are no age restrictions printed anywhere on the cover.

But there's nothing remotely erotic about Kevin O'Neill's nekkid ladies. That's not how he draws figures. The characters look pretty flat and not very sexy no matter how little clothing they have drawn on.

So Sharon and Beth saw the book on hold, flipped through it like most librarians do when they want to see what "all the fuss is" about something new, like graphic novels. And this is just a guess, but then they looked up the patron record for the borrower and they decided this book was inappropriate for someone her age.

Now, I'll admit here that I look up the accounts of women all the time to see if I'm inappropriate for someone her age, but I would never do it to censor her reading habits. In fact, I'm going to look up a woman in the database right now, call her up at home and tell her that I would never censor her reading materials. And then ask if she wants to see Paranormal Activity with me.

So they shouldn't do what they did. I don't think they should be fired for being nosey dumbasses, but I don't really know what happened with them next.

Some of you are probably aware of the ALA's fucked-up opinion on age-appropriate material: they have none. The ALA believes that all material should be available to everyone, that children can check out R-rated movies, that libraries shouldn't filter kids' Internet computers, etc.

So libraries end up creating policy that only allows adults to check out movies; kids might be able to check out movies, but only from the Children's Area. So libraries create Areas. Ghettos. Children stay in this room and Teens stay in that room and Tween huddle in that corner and Adults stay over there. So you can't put age limits on materials, but you can tell someone that their library card allows them to check out materials from a specific Area only.

You can support the ALA's idiotic policy if you want, but take a look at every professional resource for book reviews and the Children's books always get labeled that way, either in their own section of the magazine or identified with some code (see Booklist, above).

So that's why I sympathize with these women. During book selection, they are told that certain materials have age recommendations, but once the book is available for check-out, they are supposed to ignore those evaluations as an outdated form of censorship.

The two "former" librarians "say they're less concerned with their jobs and more concerned with keeping material like this out of children's hands" and "hope the library will reconsider their policies."

And again, I can sympathize with their frustration over the library's "filthy" collection. After all, just read the message on the library home page to get picture of what they had to deal with (purple prose added by me, but everything else is verbatim.. so, really? look at it; how can you blame me?):
"JCPL Online serves as the Jessamine County Public Library's portal to the hot, quivering, horny world. Whether you are visiting our sensual, very physical site in Nicholasville, Kentucky or entering deep into our virtual space on the World Wide Web, please explore every moist and firm square inch of your library. Our goal of providing a vibrant, and erotic, unique and essential public service to our patrons - especially those in Jessamine County - keeps our rigid staff busy in the creation of new sexy programs, in the acquisition of new sexy items for our collections and in finding new sexy ways to serve our community. Please visit us again and again and again and again- and let us know how we're doing it. Stud."
* Booklist 104.9-10 (Jan 1, 2008): p52(1).

Now that I've thought about this, I wonder if these women can use the Booklist age recommendation to their advantage... they probably don't want their jobs back anyway...