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To: Hamilton East Public Library Board of Trustees

Stop Censorship at Hamilton East Public Library

Photo by Waldemar on Unsplash

Hamilton East Public Library is supposed to serve all the families in the increasingly diverse communities of Fishers and Noblesville and should not cater to the viewpoints of only some parents. Moving juvenile and teen books out of their respective collections in order to conform to specific community members' opinions about what is objectionable places a burden on patrons' ability to access those materials. Children or teens searching for specific titles in the juvenile area or Teen Zone will have difficulty finding them. In addition, those minors who simply wish to browse the collection in the designated area will never find the books that have been moved. Parents browsing for books for their own children will be unable to locate them in the target areas where juvenile and teen books are typically shelved. Reducing the accessibility of books due to content is censorship.

We call on the HEPL Board of Trustees to reverse the new Collection Development Policy. Please trust the professional librarians to do their jobs to the best of their training and by adherence to their professional code of ethics.

Why is this important?

In a democratic society, even children have First Amendment rights to freely receive information, and the public library, as a form of government, and except in very limited circumstances, can not impair those rights. Only parents may limit a child's access to information. The HEPL Board of Trustees has written a new Collection Development Policy because some of the trustees and community members have deemed the books inappropriate for minors. The policy will result in approximately HALF of the teen books (and a lesser number of juvenile books) being relocated and intermixed with books in the general collection. This is expected to cost well over $110,000 and is fiscally irresponsible. Furthermore, the policy does not make sense if the Board’s intention is to “protect children,” because now children’s and teens’ books are being relocated from their respective collections to the area of the library where the intended audience is adults.

One group of community members should not decide which books are appropriate for all families and therefore be able to influence what information is freely available at the public library. There will always be materials available that some patrons will find objectionable. If parents have concerns about the book selections made by their own children, it is their responsibility to supervise them and help them make choices that reflect their own values. Moving books is censorship and is a slippery slope to book banning.

Sign this petition to let HEPL Board of Trustees know that you disagree with the new Collection Development Policy.

Hamilton County, IN, USA

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2023-08-13 19:01:16 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2023-08-11 07:31:20 -0400

500 signatures reached

2023-05-21 11:15:05 -0400

100 signatures reached

2023-05-19 21:53:06 -0400

50 signatures reached

2023-05-19 10:41:49 -0400

25 signatures reached

2023-05-19 07:48:09 -0400

10 signatures reached