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Library rejects removal request


November 24, 2007

Chandler Sunset Library patrons can continue to check out four materials, including a controversial Valley newspaper, that a group of residents had asked to be removed.

At its Nov. 15 meeting, members of the Chandler Library Board voted unanimously to leave the materials in their current locations at all of the city’s branch libraries, including the one in west Chandler.

The board was asked in September to reconsider the placement of Phoenix New Times; a George Carlin audio book, “When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?;” a picture book by Nicholas Allan titled “Where Willy Went;” and a collection of HBO “Faerie Tale Theatre” episodes by Shelley Duvall.

Two staff members, along with the Library Manager Brenda Brown and at least one member of the Library Board, reviewed each item.

At the meeting, the group assessed the content, packaging materials and placement of the materials in the age appropriate section of each Chandler library, including the Sunset branch on Ray Road east of Rural Road.

While the votes to keep the materials in their current locations were unanimous, the board recommended that the DVD case for Faerie Tale Theatre, which was missing its back cover, be repaired before returning it to the shelf.

The cover usually contains additional information about the DVD contents, and could help parents determine if the material is suitable for their children, according to library officials.

The board also asked the library staff to improve signage in some sections of the library to better explain the color-coded system used to differentiate materials by age appropriateness.

Prior to the reconsideration discussions, Brown presented board members with copies of dozens of messages received from the public regarding the matter.

All favored leaving the items in the library.

During the board’s deliberations no members of the public in attendance made any comments. However, at the conclusion of the meeting, one resident praised the board for what were termed “thoughtful deliberations” on the issues.

“The board took their responsibility to the public seriously, and gave each of these items careful consideration before making their decision,” Brown said.

“In the end, they recognized that banning the materials or restricting their access was not in the public’s best interest, and that parents need to be diligent in reviewing what their kids are looking at.”

As to listening to the ideas of its patrons, Brown said:

“Libraries are always challenged to balance freedom of expression with community values.

“Community values are very important to our board, but we also have a very diverse community. They take these issues very seriously.”


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