Removal of books an example of censorship
While I have no interest in the reported subject matter of the books Mr. Derrek Arce checked out of our city's library to prevent his children from reading, and everyone else too, I resent him, the city administrator or anybody deciding what books I can read.
It appears Mr. Arce and the administrator also want to "scrub" (their term) our city library of other books they dislike, controlling what we read. This is scary as not all of the 18,000-plus residents of Siloam Springs share their political and religious views and biases.
The administrator quickly did Mr. Arce's bidding and removed the books the latter disliked, then outlined a procedure for removing books in the future, citing a proposed Arkansas statute that does not exist. Censorship? Of course it is!
Will we have city sponsored book burnings of the "scrubbed" volumes?
Here's an idea: place any books that these gentlemen dislike in an adults only section of the library that minors can access only with parental consent.
Or just don't read them.
John T. Lee
Not Arce's place to pass judgment
It is all well and good that Derrek Arce did not want his kids to read some books that were in the Siloam Springs library. That is his prerogative as a parent, and indeed, it is his duty to review what they read to check that they are appropriate for them to view. However, when he complains to the city that there are a number of titles he thinks the library should not carry, he oversteps. It is not appropriate for him to push to have the books removed, simply because he does not approve. He may get to restrict his kids from reading them. He does not have the right to make that decision for the rest of the community, who may have different standards, and who may, in fact, want to read those books.
When Mr. Arce decided to check out the books in question, so that others would not have access, he was engaging in censorship. It is not his place to pass judgment on, or restrict others' ability to check them out of the library. No one appointed him guardian of community morals, and authorized him to make this decision for the rest of us, who may not agree with his dislike for books on those topics. Censorship is bad for the free flow of ideas. It's bad when governments do it -- see Florida -- but just as bad, if not worse when one individual can deprive an entire community of books on a particular subject because he finds them objectionable.
Public libraries are a repository of information on a wide variety of subjects, by design. Some of the books on those shelves may deal with uncomfortable, controversial, or unpleasant subjects. Just because one library patron does not like them, is not a reason for him to take away others' right to read a book that they may find rewarding or informative. If someone is uncomfortable with a particular title, don't check it out. It's that simple. Leave them alone for the rest of us to gain whatever insight they may contain.