In July, HEPL reported that 1,385 books had been moved from the Teen Zone to the general (adult) collection. In the August 20th report, this number increased to t total of 1,939 books having been moved to the adult section. Granted, this number might decrease by one as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars has been in question with the member of the library board arguing it should be returned to the Teen Zone. Granted, the author, library staff, and many members of the community all sited that the book does fail the collection policy and thus per the policy should be moved to the general collection. The following is the latest progress report numbers from the library staff:
At the August 24th HEPL board meeting, a Tiffanie Ditlevson motioned that the collection policy be put on hold. Clearly this motion was quickly shot down because that would prevent the library from shelving any new books. Instead, the latest updates that were made with the guidance of the board’s legal team for the collection policy were suspended until the updates could be reviewed and further clarified. Library director Edra Waterson clarified in the meeting that new books would and could be shelved based on the collection policy that was in place prior to the updates from this year. She received a confirmation from the board that she could use the old rules. This is great news for many teens who have been waiting on new books to be shelved – books that were not getting shelved quickly due to the need for the staff to individually review them.
The 1,939 teen books are currently still assigned to the general (adult) section. Because the systems have been changed to reflect that, it is assumed they will remain there until the policy is reviewed. With the dynamic of the library board changing next month with replacement of the Noblesville Schools appointee, combined with the news that the legal counsel to the library has chosen to part ways, it would be pure speculation to predict what will happen next with the movement of books at HEPL.
Having said that, with a second legal counsel parting ways with the library board in under a year, combined with negative national attention, hopefully the board will slow down and consider the overall impact the shifting of books to the adult section is having. With the policy suspended, it is unlikely that in September the number of moved books will increase.
As a side note, anyone can challenge the placement of a book in the library or bring a concern regarding a book to the attention of the library staff. If you believe a book is truly shelved in the wrong location, a form can be submitted. You can find that form at https://www.hepl.lib.in.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/Request-for-Reconsideration-rev-012023.pdf.