We’ve been covering the challenges to several books in West Bend, Wisconsin, including Geography Club and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Meanwhile, critics there recently called for restrictions on a third book, Baby Be Bop by Francesca Lia Block.
The Christian Civil Liberties Union’s Milwaukee branch has, in fact, filed a legal claim, arguing that the plaintiffs (all of whom are elderly) have suffered mental and emotional damage due to the book’s very presence at the Library. The claim names the city of West Bend, Mayor Kristine Deiss, the West Bend Library Board and Library Director as defendants and seeks to recover $30,000 per plaintiff, Deiss’ resignation and the book’s removal for a public burning (literally).
Additionally, the West Bend Common Council seems likely to reconsider its April 21 decision to dismiss four board members because of their refusal to remove controversial books from the young adult section of the library. The board members are accused of promoting “the overt indoctrination of the gay agenda.” Supporters of the library board intend to introduce a motion to reconsider at the May 18 council meeting.
NCAC, The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center urged the West Bend Common Council to reconsider its decision in a letter asserting that the dismissals threatened free speech in two ways by punishing the library board members for attempting to apply objective criteria in the selection of books and by pressuring the library to remove the controversial books.