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Letter to the Editor: Don't censor library books

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

When we first moved to Rocky Mount 13 years ago, one of the first things I discovered was the beautiful Braswell library — what a treasure for the city of Rocky Mount.

I am at the library weekly, I read all genre of books and usually these books are in great shape, quite a testament to the wonderful staff at the library.

But a first for me has been getting home and opening an adult fiction book that has what some people refer to as bad language, inappropriate sexual content or violence and lo and behold, someone has taken censorship to a new level by marking out what they find objectionable. They are now making the decision to not allow these books to be read as they were written. The books in our library belong to us all, paid for by all of us with our taxes. This constitutes vandalism of public property.

Library books can be returned if you realize that it offends you, no one is forcing you to read the book. I just read a wonderful murder mystery “Iron Lake” and throughout the whole book someone had taken it upon themselves to black out certain words. This person did not get to the first word that they objected to and then stop and return the book, nope they read the entire book to make sure they got every word they did not like blacked out.

Ruining a library book because something offends you is not right and by doing this you are forcing your opinions on others. This is my first experience with adults marking up adult fiction. These are not children’s books, they are for adults, who should be allowed to read or not read these books as they see fit.

When I returned the book, I showed the library staff — of course they have no way of knowing which library patron could have done this, but I am assuming the book will be taken off the shelf so now no one can enjoy the book. Not sure what will happen to the book. But we all lose, especially if the funds are not available to replace the defaced book.

Please think before you mark out words or whole passages in a public library book. This is not your personal property, but a library book, which belongs to us all.

Barbara Jones

Rocky Mount

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