Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, the children’s book about a young guinea pig named Chloe and her uncle who marries his boyfriend, has received its first challenge.
A patron at Douglas County Libraries in Colorado asked that the book either be removed from the shelves, placed in a special area, or labeled “some material may be inappropriate for young children.”
Author Sarah Brannen alerted me to this via e-mail, saying “This is the first concrete evidence I have of the book being challenged.” She also pointed me to the blog of James LaRue, the Libraries’ director. His thoughtful and well-reasoned response to the patron is worth reading in full. It ends:
Finally, then, I conclude that “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” is a children’s book, appropriately categorized and shelved in our children’s picture book area. I fully appreciate that you, and some of your friends, strongly disagree with its viewpoint. But if the library is doing its job, there are lots of books in our collection that people won’t agree with; there are certainly many that I object to. Library collections don’t imply endorsement; they imply access to the many different ideas of our culture, which is precisely our purpose in public life.
This is likely the first of many challenges to the book. The ultra-right already had its eye on it, as evidenced by Brent Bozell III’s shameless plagiarism of my review of the work. At least other librarians will have LaRue’s letter as a starting point. Might be a good idea for all of us to print it out and keep ready to bring over to our local libraries, should the need arise.