Complaint To Local Public Library-A Child Protection Issue

I made a complaint to our local public library because the eleven year old granddaughter of a staff member of mine borrowed a number of comics from the library which she thought were about cartooning. These books aren’t about cartooning but are called manga and contain violence and often explicit sexual content. These are just two of the books she borrowed:

“Crying Freeman” by Kazuo Koike (GN KOI K) Quote from Wikipedia. “The Crying Freeman manga series is renowned for its artwork and gratuitous graphic violence and eroticism.”

This book is rated R 18+.

“I Luv Halloween” by Benjamin Roman (GN GIF K)Quote from Amazon.com Finch and his sister, Moochie, are all ready for Halloween, and they look adorable. Finch is dressed as a zombie, while Moochie is the Tooth Fairy. By the time we realize that Moochie is stealing teeth from a house full of dead bodies, and Finch knows more about zombies than any child has a right to, we’ve already been drawn into their cute but gruesome world. Giffen (Formerly Known as the Justice League) and Roman (The Lonely Tombstone) have concocted a black comedy that reads as if Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton had collaborated on a Halloween heist story. As the story progresses, a mysterious kid dressed as a devil who might just be one, razor blades in apples, a boy named Mr. Kitty with a breast fetish, a dead dog, a missing bra and much more mix together for a lively and inventive tale. Giffen’s darkly humored script draws laughs from such things as evisceration while capturing the childlike glee at dressing up and walking by a scary graveyard. He also leaves plenty of mysteries for the next two volumes to solve. Cocreator Roman’s art is occasionally too detailed for the small pages, but he excels at unique character designs and macabre details. Full of ghoulish tricks, I Luv Halloween is a seasonal treat that the not easily offended will thoroughly enjoy. (Oct.)

I want to thank the library for taking this matter fairly seriously. They have a duty of care not to provide this type of material to children. They are changing their computer system so that these books can’t be borrowed on a child’s library card. On the door of the youth room they have placed large signs which say Youth Room, These materials are suitable for people 15 to 25 years.

They have also rearranged their DVDs and videos so that family movies are separate from the adult movies. The children’s movies have always been separate.

I’ll be checking to see that the R rated books aren’t able to be borrowed by children.

I would’ve preferred that they were removed from the library altogether but this is definitely better than nothing!!

Parents, Grandparents
Please be aware of what your children are looking at and what they are borrowing from libraries. A lot of people never know what’s in their local library. It’s a good idea to go with your children and talk about their choices of books, DVDs and CDs.

If you find something that disturbs you in your local library please make a complaint in writing, verbal complaints are quickly forgotten and nothing gets done. When you get your response don’t be afraid to follow it up. If they’ve promised to do something then they should do it. If nothing is done about your complaint then use your local media, write letters to the editor and ask your local newspaper to write a story about the issue too. If you speak out about an issue you’ll often find that there are others who are also concerned about it, they can also send in their own complaint letters too.

3 Comments

  1. Magni

    I would’ve preferred that they were removed from the library altogether but this is definitely better than nothing!!

    Why? Isn’t it a bit strict to limit other people’s freedom of speech, writing, printing, drawing etc, because you don’t think your child should see it? Nobody is hurt from making manga series, and they are clearly drawn, a child can see that they are not photos of actual events. Of course they can imagine these things happening to real people, and thus I see that it should be restricted.

    I think it’s a good idea to restrict such materials to a section unavailable to children, and what your library has done sounds pretty reasonable. Of course it would be easier to prohibit it completely in the library (maybe from a “why should public money be spent on such literature” reasoning, which is not the same as prohibiting it altogether) – but what’s the limit? Should everything that may be inappropriate for a child be forbidden for everyone? What about historical movies with battles with lot of blood and weapons, or movies about slavery? Definitely inappropriate for young children, but may be appropriate for instructed showing in higher grades, and for adults. What about religious books with violence? This may include the Bible (by my definition: absolutely) – so who should decide whether the Bible should be allowed or not?

  2. Kylie Willison

    Hi Magni
    I should’ve clarified this statement. I was refering to the sexual content of the books Eg Crying Freeman. I think there are plenty of other avenues where adults can get this type of book, should they wish to, rather than a public library.

    As far as violence you’re right I feel that children, at an appropriate age, do to need to know about historical violence (war, slavery, the crusades etc) with teaching along with it.

    It’s very hard to say where a limit should be, as you’ve pointed out, what gets included and what gets left out??? This one will be discussed for ages!

    My main concern in this issue is children having access to what I feel and the parents of the child in question feel is pornographic material.

  3. Anonymous

    Hi,

    I have found your blog. I really like your perspective on complaint letter writing. As I was doing my research, I have also found a great resource for online complaints: Complaint Letters. I think you will find it very interesting and resourceful

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