(NEW YORK)—PEN America expressed distress today over the decision by Indiana’s Hamilton East Public Library to move more than 1,300 Young Adult books to its adult section under a new “Collection Development Policy” that overrides publisher, author, and librarian recommendations on where to shelve books.

The decision will make it more difficult for teenagers to access books written for them, including John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, Judy Blume’s Forever, Laurie Halse Andersons’s Speak, Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, Ruta Sepetys’ Between Shades of Gray, Angie Thomas’ Concrete Rose, Kelly Yang’s Private Label, and hundreds more. The library said it had reviewed just over 25% of what it called “the high school collection” and moved 1,385 books to the adult section. Just 474 books were kept in the teen section.

Free Expression and Education programs director Jonathan Friedman made the following statement:

The ongoing review of books in Hamilton East Public Library is distressing. Teens have books that are written with them in mind; that is precisely what a YA collection is about. To dismantle that runs the risk of making teens disinclined to read, taking away their opportunity to explore and distill their own interests, or even to feel welcome in a library. The entire review appears motivated by a distrust of young people, and an interest in curbing what ideas and information they have access to,” Friedman said. “In a letter to the district, John Green was right to call it ‘political theater of the lowest and most embarrassing order.’”

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. To learn more visit PEN.org 

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057