As books draw attention for positive and negative reasons, you will see the impact at your local public library.
The latest book to catch the interest of the nation is Maus, a graphic novel about the author’s father's experience in a Nazi death camp as a Jewish prisoner told from the perspective of mice. A Tennessee school board recently banned the book from its curriculum, citing issues with the book’s language and pictures of nudity. The book, which was published in the late 1980s in two separate volumes, has soared up the best seller’s list ever since the ban was first reported. It has been a hot commodity for libraries as well as the Brown County Library has 26 holds on the first volume while InfoSoup, which shows the availability across several libraries including Kewaunee, Algoma, and Door County, shows 27 hold requests for the complete series.
Algoma Library Director Cathy Kohlbeck says the demand for the book locally has not been as strong as it was last year when Dr. Seuss Enterprises chose to remove six titles from printing due to racist imagery. She does think the attention is good for libraries.
While school board meetings are the route to go for questioning books for schools, there is a process to do the same at public libraries. At Algoma, you could fill out a statement of concern, which is then reviewed by the library’s directors. In Kohlbeck’s five years on the job, there has never been a book challenged through the process.