Miss. town organized to keep adult-themed books away from kids

Miss. town organized to keep adult-themed books away from kids

Miss. town organized to keep adult-themed books away from kids

After a small Mississippi town acted quickly to remove lewd and crude library books from the children's section, a church pastor credits determined adults and a cooperative library for working together.

Parents throughout the country are learning their tax dollars are purchasing obscene books for local libraries, which is what happened at the Marion County Library in Columbia, a town of 5,900.

Dave Nichols, who pastors East Columbia Baptist Church, tells AFN word spread and opposition grew.

“The library board hosted a public hearing where approximately 25 people showed up,” he says. “Twenty-four of those 25 were 100% in agreement that that type of material should not be made available to children.”

The library controversy began when a local citizen, Rachel McMurry, noticed one questionable book and then another in the children’s section. She then filed a complaint which set up an August 9 standing room-only meeting with the library’s board of trustees.  

One of the questionable titles on the book shelf is Heartstopper. Now a Netflix series, Heartstopper is a collection of young-adult books about two teen boys who fall in love, according to an NBC News story about the controversy in Marion County.

Closer to home, when liberal news outlet Mississippi Free Press reported on the library controversy, it said it reviewed the Heartstopper books and found no “overtly sexual activity” other than hugging and kissing.   

From those two stories, the public might assume the Mississippi town filled the library meeting over one PG-rated book, but that is not true. In all, a review of books in the children's section found 14 titles that raised a red flag to concerned adults, according to The Columbian-Progress newspaper. Some of the titles were sexually explicit and other books contained vulgar language. Not all the books that were flagged contained same-sex themes, the newspaper reported. 

The list of books provided to the newspaper are The Nowhere Girls; Story of a Girl; Dress Codes for Small Towns; What Girls are Made of; Burned; Ready or Not; Luna; The Upside of Unrequited; Shiver; Eleanor and Park; All the Bright Places; Absolute Boyfriend; A Bad Boy can be Good for a Girl; Girl in Pieces.  

McMurry told the Columbian-Progress she wanted the books moved to the adult section – not banned from the library entirely – because of their content.

Nichols, the church pastor, tells AFN the board of trustees voted to review the questionable books.   

“And if any was found to have questionable content, not suitable for the younger eyes,” he says, “it would be moved to the adult section and also said it would not be put on display.”

The pastor also says the Columbia community and library officials worked together to address the issue.