Transgender books to remain in children's section at Andover Library

Published: Feb. 13, 2019 at 9:45 PM CST
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Three children's books with transgender characters will remain in the children's section of the Andover Library.

The library's board of directors approved the decision 6 to 1 during its meeting Tuesday night.

The titles include "George," "Lily and Dunkin" and "I am Jazz."

Back in July, Marci Laffen asked that the books be removed. A hearing was held and a vote of 4 to 1 deemed they could stay. Laffen appealed the decision, but she also amended her complaint and asked that the books at least be moved to the adult section.

Tuesday night, each of the board members said they read the books before the meeting. They said it's their policy to remain neutral and provide a variety of viewpoints to their public, even for children.

"As librarians, we believe it is the parents' responsibility and right to determine what their children read or view. And so we've heard from parents that don't want their children seeing these books. we've heard from parents who want their kids to be exposed to these books. We leave that decision up to the parents," said Tom Taylor, the director of the Andover Library.

Laffen said she is disappointed by the library's decision and issued the following statement.

“My appeals to the Andover Public Library Board have been based on research and science. I am disappointed that the library board’s policy on free access of information neglects protecting young children from content that is not age-appropriate and beyond their cognitive reasoning, which the target age of 10 is concrete learning. In these books, such topics that were suggested included hiding Internet searches, defying police orders, assaulting police officers, hiding and not taking bipolar medications, and all three books had “doctors” who gave incomplete and misleading medical information regarding androgen blockers and gender transitioning.”

The board said they consider the matter settled and will not entertain any challenges or complaints about the books moving forward.