The Marshall (Mo.) Public Library’s Board of Trustees put the finishing touches on its materials selection policy at a public meeting last night, a set of standards developed due to initial complaints from two patrons about a pair of award-winning graphic novels. And, thanks to that new policy, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic and Blankets will return to where they always belonged in the first place: The shelves of that very same Missouri library.
The only concession and, it’s a small one: Once among the shelves of young-adult titles, the board voted 7-1 to move Blankets to the adult collection and away from the young adult area (Fun Home was always racked among the adult/memoir section).
Although Marshall Public Library’s materials selection policy was formalized as a direct result of Fun Home and Blankets, library director Amy Crump was quick to point out the committee didn’t write it with either graphic novel in mind and that the group felt a strong commitment to guard against censorship. In fact, the new policy, in Crump’s estimation, creates no extra obstacles for graphic novels than any other book.
I was also pleasantly surprised to learn during a short interview with Crump this afternoon, not every member of the Marshall Public Library committee who formulated the policy was aware of the interest in their story, specifically an Associated Press story by David Twiddy that appeared on countless newspaper Web sites around the world for almost three months. But Crump was very well aware of the attention from places like Newsarama and The Beat.
For more details about the Marshall Public Library, check out Rachel Harper’s excellent story in the Marshall Democrat-News.