True story from what we'll call "The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword" -Chronicles: After reading a book at his local library, a young lad is now institutionalized and in "extensive therapy."
This article was published earlier this week in the Northwest Florida Daily News.
It's a cautionary tale: as writers, we wield tremendous powers. Use them for good, not for evil. (But remember: the evil stuff sells a whole lot better.)
Mom: Son in 'extensive therapy' after viewing library book
July 05, 2010
Florida Freedom Newspapers
CRESTVIEW, Florida — A Japanese serial graphic novel genre popular with young teens has raised the ire of a Crestview mother whose teenage son got hold of an adult version of the genre from the Crestview Public Library.
“Manga” depicts highly stylized adventure and, occasionally, violence in fantasy settings.
Margaret Barbaree, founder of a citizens’ group called Protect Our Children, presented examples from a manga book to the Crestview City Council last week that she described as “graphic” and “shocking,” taken from material she said is “available to children” at the Crestview Public Library.
“My son lost his mind when he found this,” Barbaree said of the manga book from which her examples were taken.
She said her son had removed the book unsupervised from the library’s general stacks last summer and put it in his backpack. She has kept it ever since.
“Now he’s in a home for extensive therapy,” she said.
Several months ago, Barbaree had circulated a petition bearing 226 signatures of citizens protesting the availability of manga, which she mistakenly referred to as “anime,” or Japanese animation.
However, the library said some patrons complained they were misled when they signed the petition.
“They told us she (Barbaree) approached them at the Christmas parade and asked them to sign a petition protesting pornography in the library,” said Resource Librarian Sandra Dreaden.
Barbaree said Library Director Jean Lewis explained to her that there is a demand for manga, and that the library strives to meet the needs of its patrons.
City Council President Charles Baugh Jr. assured Barbaree that “we have safeguards in place to protect our children and we have committees that review library purchases so they meet the standards of the (American) Library Association.”
The books that concerned Barbaree “are in the library for those who wish to partake of them and they are in a section of the library” for adult patrons, said Baugh, who visited the library himself the day after the council meeting and said he found the manga available in the young adult section perfectly innocuous.
“We follow up with our citizens’ concerns,” Baugh said after meeting with library staff and viewing the young adult manga.
Baugh also confirmed that the book Barbaree’s son had taken was in the general stacks well away from the children’s and young adult books.
“Our library is well managed and well staffed,” Baugh told Barbaree while assuring her, “I am a family man and I understand what you are saying.”
Lewis said the manga available in the young adult section of the library is oriented toward young teen readers and does not contain the adult themes of the book Barbaree’s son took. That book had been in the general stacks, on a top shelf in a section with other graphic novels and comic books not geared toward young readers.
“We have policies and procedures in place to prevent underage children from accessing those materials,” Baugh said.