Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 15, 2013

Library board keeps controversial book in teen section

Nicole Dominique
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — A book challenged at the January Helen Matthes Library board meeting will not be moved out of the teen section anytime soon.

Rosina Esker of Teutopolis requested that "When It Happens" by Susane Colastani be moved out of the teen section of the library for content that is too explicit for the age group after her 14-year-old daughter read a few pages and asked to send it back.

"She said, 'This book is not for me,'" Esker said. "I really feel this is an adult book."

She summarized the novel for the board, explaining the heavy lust and sex themes. The book also touches on birth control, pornography and how to prepare for sex.

Esker didn't feel there were enough good behaviors in the characters.

"Kids are looking for role models," she said. "The kids I worry about picking this up are the ones with a terrible home life."

Library policy states that it strive to provide materials covering controversial issues.

Library Director Amanda McKay said a variety of factors lead to placement in the teen section.

"We do look at reading level," she said. "We also look at the characters in the book, look at their ages and the subject matter they're dealing with, who they're targeted for. This one, based on those criteria, fell soundly in the teen area."

She added all the library's sections are open to every age, meaning if the book were moved to the adult section, teenagers would still be allowed to check it out.

Although the ultimate decision was to leave the book in the teen section, the board commended Esker for keeping track of what her children are reading.

"Obviously, your daughter has taken on your values," said Secretary Jane Wise.

Nicole Dominique can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or nicole.dominique@effinghamdailynews.com