Magazine article American Libraries

Censorship Watch

Magazine article American Libraries

Censorship Watch

Article excerpt

Contested Videos Get Second Run

The films My Chauffeur and Sugar and Spice are back on the shelves of the Lafourche Parish (La.) Library's Bayou Blue branch as of late October at the request of the same person who asked for their removal for reconsideration this summer. Complainant Mark Atzenhoffer borrowed the two movies, rated R and PG-13 respectively, to view with his 11-year-old. But when he screened the films before viewing them with his daughter, Atzenhoffer was offended by instances of nudity and use of profanity in the films, he stated in his request.

At the library board's October 27 meeting, Atzenhoffer, who is a candidate for the District 5 parish council, emphasized that he had never sought the videos' ban, but rather a system to keep such fare out of the hands of minors. Reiterating his opposition to removing or labeling materials, Library Director Paul Chiquet nonetheless promised to look into the feasibility of restricting minors' access to R-rated films. "You can't legislate morality," reacted parish council liaison Joseph Fertitta, who cautioned that establishing such a system would be "opening a big can of worms," according to the October 29 Thibodeaux Daily Comet.

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Director Gags over Eat Me

The sexually explicit Australian novel Eat Me by Linda Jaivin has reawakened the issue of what constitutes inappropriate literature in Marion County, Florida (AL, May 2002, p. 23). But this time, the library director agrees with the complainant.

Eat Me, which tells of four women's exotic sexual exploits with food items (among other objects) and makes extensive comparisons between food and body parts, was challenged July 5 by Loretta Harrison, an avid reader who thought she was borrowing a comical novel along with seven other selections she had made. "I don't want my grandchildren or any children reading that," Harrison said in the October 5 Ocala Star-Banner about why she challenged the book as obscene.

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When Director Julie Sieg reviewed the book, she found herself overruling the retention recommendation of a three-member reconsideration committee. Sieg reported to the library board August 26 that she had removed the book from circulation because "we aren't in the habit of providing erotica or pornography."

Library policy specifies that any patron has 30 days to challenge one of Sieg's decisions, and a week later, former board chair Mary Lutes did just that. …

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