Controversial Library "Book Ban" Reversed - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/11/05

Controversial Library "Book Ban" Reversed

The Jackson-George Regional Library board had the final say on whether to circulate "America... the book" by Jon Stewart. It's a book that features images of the nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices superimposed on naked bodies.

"I thought we were right before and I don't see any reason just because a few people objected that we are wrong now," Member James Corley says to the board.

It was a painstaking evening as library board members had to deal with the pressure from local opposition and national media attention.

"Is it not incredible that such a small action to be considered has blown up into a national issue," Member Bruce Grimes says.

Yet some board members' stance against putting Jon Stewart's "America (the book)" on their library shelves remain unchanged.

"I just think it's inappropriate," Corley said.

"If somebody is so interested in reading trash, they can go purchase it," another member said.

The second time confronting the issue though, the board got to hear what some in the community think.

"This book is not pornography in any way," one residents said.

"Right now in Iraq there are young men and women dying for the right to read whatever they want to because this is the USA," another said.

When the board voted, the opposition won out.

"We live in a really open-minded community and the board really listened to what we had to say and considered some points of view that maybe they hadn't considered before," Tara Skelton said.

The reversal means some board members changed their minds.

"I did second the motion to not allow the book on the shelves at this last board meeting," Grimes said.

They say it was the local outcry, and not the nation's critical eye, that made them reconsider.

"Today, that decision was the right decision," Board Chairman David Able said.

By Jaimee Goad

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