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10-Year-Old Borrows Steamy Gay Sex Manga From Local Library

| 17 Oct 2012 07:10
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A 10-year-old girl managed to borrow Makoto Tateno's Hero Heel from a King County Library.

One Travis De Nevers has filed a complaint with the King County Library System (KCLS) after discovering his 10-year-old niece managed to check out a copy of an adults-only yaoi manga.

Described as a "huge anime fan," De Nevers' niece borrowed a number of manga, including Makoto Tateno's Hero Heel. De Nevers realized something was amiss when he noticed the book's "Parental Advisory" sticker. He flicked through the title, only to discover it contained drawings of two garden-variety bishies engaging in "rather violent" sex. The book is quite clearly marked as "yaoi."

For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the term, "yaoi" is used to describe fiction that focuses on male homosexual romance marketed towards the ladies. The genre, which is dominated by female authors, is known for romanticizing aggressive and sometimes non-consensual sex. It's sometimes gets a bit rapey, in other words.

Needless to say, Mr De Nevers was not keen on his pre-teen niece having access to such material, and he outlined his concerns in a letter to Bill Ptacek, director of the KCLS.

How can it be that a young girl can check-out this book? Why would it even be located in a place where children would have easy access to it?

I do not want this to happen again to my niece or other children. I am asking that you review your check-out practices and make the changes necessary to prevent it. Please send me a response detailing your steps to correct this serious situation.

De Nevers' outrage is totally justified, the library staff certainly shouldn't have let his niece check the book out, but in a statement to the B-Town blog, he questions whether such manga should be in the library in the first place.

"What also sickens me is that people are going to the library to read this kind of content?," he said. "An anime comic book section is where people go to read porn? Around kids? There is no good coming from this being in our library."

Now at this point you'd expect the threat of public outrage would push the KCLS to issue an apology, instead the library system - ahem - came out swinging in a statement to ANN.

In keeping with the mission to provide free, open and equal access to ideas and information, KCLS develops its collection to reflect the diversity of the patrons we serve. Materials are selected based on a variety of criteria including, but not limited to, current and anticipated needs and interests of the public and contribution to the breadth of collections. We also expand the collection by responding to requests from patrons, and graphic novels are one of the most requested areas of the collection. When evaluating suggested titles, staff consults industry-related websites, newsletters and blogs. If overall reviews are positive, a title is purchased; conversely, if the consensus is negative, the request is declined.

Although many people associate graphic novels with children and teens, the industry increasingly publishes titles for adults thanks to the popularity of Anime TV shows.
The title checked out, "Hero Heel 2" was catalogued as Adult Non-Fiction. All non-fiction titles, including children's non-fiction, are shelved together. The parental advisory sticker on the cover was adhered to the book by the publisher. KCLS does not apply ratings to its materials but recognizes that certain items in the collection that are popular with some may be considered objectionable by others. For that reason, staff relies on the authority of parents and legal guardians to supervise the reading, viewing or listening use of library materials for their own minor children. KCLS' Parental Responsibility Policy ... states in part, that:

"Parents and guardians are responsible for their children's behavior, safety and welfare while their children are in the library or on library grounds, which includes their children's access to library materials and electronic resources. KCLS strongly recommends that a parent, guardian or other responsible party be present to supervise children ages 12 and younger. KCLS staff is available to assist parents, guardians and their children in the use of the library; however, KCLS staff cannot act "in loco parentis" (in place of a parent) for children in the library."

The Policy also states that

"KCLS will not limit children to the use of books in the children's section of the library, as these materials may not meet the needs and interests of all children. In addition, library staff is not responsible for determining whether materials used by children and teens are "age appropriate."
These policies are not unique to KCLS. They are consistent with public library policies across the United States.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund also chimed in with a defense of Manga as a legitimate art form, guy-on-guy love included.

As CBLDF readers are aware, comics, graphic novels, and manga often face challenges from those who think any book with lots of pictures must be for children. That certainly seems to be the case here, as de Nevers expresses surprise that "an anime comic book section is where people go to read porn." While Hero Heel 2 likely doesn't qualify as pornography by a strict definition, it is definitely intended for adults, who make up a large part of any library's patron base. Modern public libraries build their collections with a wide variety of ages, tastes, cultures, and interests in mind. There may be indeed be materials in those collections that some parents do not want their children to access, but the responsibility for setting those boundaries lies with the parents, not the libraries.

Source: ANN

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