Book display at Bloomington Public Library faces parent backlash, concern

Local News

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — A book display at Bloomington Public Library turned the heads of some parents for all the wrong reasons.

The placement of the books is what caused parents to contact library staff and then contact WMBD. A parent in Bloomington contacted the station, worried books that contained sexually explicit material and gore could have easily been picked up and viewed by her seven-year-old son.

The books are part of a display that library staff said changes monthly and is designed to feature content for both children and adults that patron the library, with different themes changing throughout the year.

This month’s display featured graphic novels prominently displayed on the second floor in between the children’s area and adult area.

While some books featured superheroes, others featured pictures of topless women, sexual situations, and images of gore and violence. Concerned parents said it’s too close of a call and are “mortified” children could have easily accessed the materials.

Placement of these “mature only” books caused concern from Bloomington parents.

Executive Director of Bloomington Public Library Jeanne Hamilton said the library features content for all ages and backgrounds. She said it’s up to parent’s discretion what their child can or can’t check out, and there isn’t a specific policy in place.

“In our policy, it says all checkouts are up to the discretion of parents/guardians of minors,” Hamilton said. “We don’t restrict materials on age group because we know that each person and child has different levels of what’s appropriate for them.”

Hamilton said the display is being changed out tomorrow and said she and the library staff are taking the feedback into consideration.

“We do recognize that it is in close proximity to the children’s area so that is something we will try not to highlight in the future,” Hamilton said. “The display wasn’t intended to do that at all, it was just intended to display the graphic novel genre in general.”

Hamilton also said graphic novels range from superheroes to more complex stories of social issues and that in some instances, graphic novels get reluctant readers to become more avid readers.

Parents who contacted WMBD wished to remain anonymous and declined an on-camera interview, but did tell WMBD they’re not trying to “ban” books, just want careful attention to what their child is exposed to.

Next month’s display is cookbooks.

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