Oct 19, 2016

School Library Issues

I am going to try and write this without naming the book or the author, just talk about the issue.  I am sure that other librarians have had this issue and am wondering what they do with it.

So, we have a series in the library that is pretty popular with our readers-young and old (we have a few teachers that love it as well).  The author has started a second series, which the second book for recently came out.  One of our teachers was very excited to read it so she took it home over the weekend before I had it cataloged for our collection.  When she came in on Monday she told me she didn't think it was appropriate for a middle school library.  I kind of rolled my eyes, knowing how conservative this teacher tends to be.  But, I started reading on the page she told me to and holy cow!  It was such a steamy sex scene.  Like, WAY above what should be in a book for a middle school.  I pointed it out to the high school librarians, just to get their opinion and they both agreed it was too steamy for their libraries too. I didn't feel too bad because this was only the second book in so we hadn't invested too much money.

Then the fifth book in her more popular series came out.  And again, there was a pretty steamy sex series in this book.  It's like this author is writing herself out of YA!  We kind of use the barometer of "would a student see this on TV."  And both times we had to say NO.  Not broadcast TV anyway.

So, here's my concerns.  I haven't seen anything on any blog reviews that talk about this.  I realize mot blogs aren't written by librarians, but nobody even mentions the sex scenes.  I read a lot of YA books and I haven't ever read anything in any YA book that matches this.  I have in adult books, but not YA (honestly, not even in "new adult" book, it's that steamy).  I don't shy away from putting books on our shelves that has swear words or talks about sex, but this is way more than talking about sex.

I feel like I am self-censoring and I hate that, but I also feel that school libraries have to have a different standard for what goes on their shelves, especially a middle school library.  And it makes me so sad because it this is the way YA books are heading I will have less of them on my shelves.  I love YA books, I think is great for kids to read about issues they will soon be facing or are already facing.

(It should be noted that I have not read any of the books in either of these series, but my partner librarian has as well as a few other teachers)

What are your feelings about sexual books on school library shelves? 


  1. As a mom, I think it would bother me and I'd prefer they didn't carry it. Then if a parent, hears from their kid that they can't get it at school - they know they should check it out for themselves and purchase it if they deem it OK.

    1. That's one thing we definitely thought about! We've discussed this with our friends over the past few weeks and my partner librarian has a friend who recalls checking out Clan of the Cave Bears from her middle school library!! I have to think a mom would frown on that one!