Wake County Public Libraries is currently revising the process for permanently removing books from its collection. The move to update the process comes after questions arose from the community about WCPL’s decision to remove the graphic novel “Gender Queer” from library shelves.
“The library system created this process in 2005, and since then, national best practices have changed,” said Wake County Public Libraries Director Mike Wasilick. “We recognized it was time to modernize our procedures and ensure they’re inclusive, open and supportive of a public library that welcomes all.”
During today’s work session, WCPL leaders walked the Wake County Board of Commissioners through the steps that a diverse cross-section of library staff is taking to revise the process. They’re reviewing the American Library Association’s latest recommendations, as well as looking at how other large library systems in places like San Diego, Seattle, Austin and Boston handle removing books from their collections.
Using this knowledge, staff is revising Wake County’s process to make it more transparent and offer more opportunities for diverse input before making a decision.
Once the revision is complete, it must be approved by library administration, the Community Services Department and the Wake County Manager’s Office. The Wake County Library Commission and the Wake County Board of Commissioners will also review it.
In the meantime, “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, a book recently removed from circulation based on the original evaluation process, will go back on library shelves. The status of Jonathan Evison's “Lawn Boy,” a novel reviewed through the same process at the same time and deemed able to stay in circulation, will not change. Once the revised process goes into effect, WCPL will use it to re-evaluate both books to ensure fairness.