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A graphic novel officially challenged by an Upstate parent earlier this year has been removed from the Greenville County Library System, say library officials.
During the summer, Carrie Gaske checked out "Neonomicon," a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Jacen Burrows, for her 14-year-old daughter.
Gaske filed a "request for reconsideration," objecting to graphic sexual content. Her request was reviewed by the Collection Management Council, said Beverly James, the library system's executive director, and the council opted to remove the book from the collection.
The library system periodically receives reconsideration requests and the review process includes consulting reviews and recommended lists for opinions of experts and critics, James said.
The challenge garnered the attention of the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund that co-wrote a letter in support of keeping "Neonomicon" in the collection.
The system's collection development policy addresses materials that some library users may object to and stresses that "only individuals can determine what is most appropriate for their needs."
The book was filed in the adult non-fiction section, as are most graphic novels for adults, said James. In a WSPA TV interview, Gaske said she flipped through the book before checking it out and thought it was okay. "It looked to me like a murder mystery comic book; to me, that's a child's book," she said.
To help parents assist in selecting material, several types of library cards are offered available, James said. Library users with a juvenile card cannot check out young adult (YA) or adult materials if restricted by a parent. A juvenile-adult cardholder can check out any material. All cardholders under the age of 17 must have a parent or guardian's signature on the application.
Tracy Anderson-Hancock, the system's collection development coordinator, said that people who challenge materials, mostly DVDs, are concerned about not only their own children, but other children who may see the material.
Following the council's decision to remove the book from the collection, James said, "'Neonomicon' was added to the library's collection based on the reputation of the author as one of the most outstanding writers in the genre and the fact that the book won the 2011 Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writer's Association in the graphic novel category.
"Nonetheless, had we known in advance about the disturbing material contained in the book, it is unlikely we would have added 'Neonomicon' to our collection. For that reason, we have withdrawn it from the library's collection," James said.
According to the American Library Association, most book challenges are made by parents and it has documented 10,676 challenges between 1990 and 2010.