Archive for Wednesday, October 8, 2003

BHS library receives multiple copies of controversial book

October 8, 2003

Students wanting to read the Baldwin School District's most current controversial book will now have a better chance of getting a copy.

Six copies of Robert Cormier's "We All Fall Down" were donated to the high school library this week by Baldwin resident Jennifer Hayes.

"I'm not doing this to make a big hoopla," Hayes said. "I just felt it was important for the kids to have access to literature."

Baldwin High School Librarian Jana Jorn said there has been an increased interest in reading the young adult novel since six copies were pulled from a Baldwin freshman orientation classroom in September following a parent complaint.

"We All Fall Down" uses explicit language and sexual references while examining a number of teenage issues such as alcohol abuse, divorce and peer pressure.

Hayes said she did read the book before donating the copies to the library.

"I did not feel it was inappropriate," she said. "If reading that book could help the kids make better decisions, then they should have access to it."

Jorn said the two copies of "We All Fall Down" that have been a part of the high school library's collection since 1998 have been checked out since the debate on whether the book is appropriate instructional material began nearly a month ago.

"I'm sure as soon as we get the donations, I know they'll be checked out that day," she said.

Because the book has been so popular, Jorn said, she knows several people have gone to other libraries or bookstores in search of copies.

"I know there's a very strong interest in it," she said.

The BHS library also has all of Cormier's other novels in its collection, she said, but they aren't quite as popular as "We All Fall Down."

"We have a few people reading other Cormier books," she said, "but they really want to read the book."

Jorn said it's not uncommon for the library to receive book donations from district patrons, but there has never been a donation of multiple copies of one book. But, she said, there has also never been such an interest in one book either.

"It's unique to this situation," she said. "We've never had a book banning, censorship kind of issue before."

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