School libraries say Dr. Seuss books to remain on shelves

National

HOLLYWOOD – MARCH 11: Children read from “The Cat in the Hat” book at a ceremony honoring the late children’s book author Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 11, 2004 in Hollywood , California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

(WTVO) — School systems across the country say they will be keeping Dr. Seuss books on the shelves amid a new controversy about whether the books are appropriate for students to read.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced Tuesday that it would stop publishing six books by the author which include “racist and insensitive imagery.”

The books affected include “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “If I Ran the Zoo,”  “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.”

The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company told AP.

Some school systems across America said they would not be removing the books from their shelves.

The New York Public Library said it does not censor books, according to library spokeswoman Angela Montefinise, saying the books are part of the library’s historical collection.

According to WBMA, Jessica Maddox, an assistant professor of Digital Media at the University of Alabama, said, “All media are a product of their time. The question is not ‘does it hold up? The question is not ‘should we forgive it?’ It’s what can we learn about media, culture, and society at that point in time, today. That by no means excuses any offensive or stereotypical content we may see but it provides context.”

The Denver Public Library said it follows the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Principles, which say it it essential for public libraries to provide a wide range of views, including those which are “unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.”

According to KCNC, the library issued a statement, saying, “Libraries across the country are having conversations around how to balance our core values of intellectual freedom, with the harmful stereotypes depicted in many children’s classics. We will continue to purchase and promote diverse collections, while finding ways to help parents read and discuss books with their children with a critical eye as part of our efforts to challenge inequity.”

Craig Scott, director at the Gadsen Public Library in Alabama said his library is not in the business of censorship.

The library and others around the country typically celebrate “Banned Books Week,” which focuses on controversial books.

Librarian Ben Carman, of the Plattsburgh Public Library in New York, said author Theodor Seuss Geisel had some regrets later in life and “tried to do better,” according to the Press-Republican.

“With kids, we want to show them that people are not perfect, that people can grow and that we have grown as a culture, as a society,” he added. “If we remove all evidence of that, it makes it harder to teach those lessons.” 

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