NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — Hamilton East Public Library found itself under the scrutiny of the national spotlight after a controversial review policy led to famous teen books being relocated to a section meant only for adults.
While some board members and defenders claimed the move was to protect young adult readers from “inappropriate” materials, many others — including famous Indianapolis author John Green — shamed the move.
Green, after learning his best-selling young adult novel “The Fault in Our Stars” was moved to the Adult section, called the policy “an embarrassment” and the relocation decision “political theater of the lowest and most embarrassing order.”
The controversial policy is not only costing Hamilton County taxpayers upwards of $300,000, but it cost Hamilton East Public Library Board President Laura Alerding her position after being ousted in a 3-2 vote last week.
On Thursday night, during a crowded Hamilton East Public Library Board meeting, the controversial review policy implemented by the board was suspended by the board. The ongoing book review process, with thousands of books yet to be read under this new, more scrutinous eye, is dead in the water.
At least for the time being.
Books that have already been moved out of the teen section, such as “The Fault in Our Stars” or the non-fiction book “Attucks!” — the true story of an Indiana all-black high school basketball team that won the state championship in 1955 — will remain in the adult section for the time being, however, as the matter of relocating books that have already been moved was tabled.
In addition to attracting the attention of the national news media and author John Green, the controversial review policy led to frequent online discourse with some backing the policy while claiming it protects children and doesn’t outright ban books, only relocates them.
Others argue, however, that the policy hinders young readers from discovering content that is written for teens and is about teen experiences. Critics of the policy also point out that moving popular teen books into the adult section will only expose children to material with stronger adult themes as young readers go in search of popular teen books that have been relocated; therefore becoming counterproductive to the policy’s claimed intention of protecting children from inappropriate material.
FOX59/CBS4 has asked the Hamilton East Public Library for further clarification of the policy and its suspension along with the fate of books that have already been relocated.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.