(NEW YORK)– PEN America today urged the Greenville, S.C. County Council to reject a vaguely-worded resolution using a subjective standard that would censor books and materials in the childrens’ sections of the Greenville County Library System.

In urging a “No” vote on  the “Resolution to Restrict Access to Child and Juvenile Sexual Materials in the Children’s Sections of our Greeville LIbrary System,” Jonathan Friedman, director of PEN America’s Free Expression and Education program, made the following comments:

“If passed, this resolution would be an exercise in censorship, ordering the Greenville County Library System to ban books from the children’s sections of libraries using a vague and subjective standard. Demanding the removal of books that “promote sexuality” appears to be targeted at the restriction not only of books with sexual content, but also of books that spotlight LGBTQ+ issues or that include LGBTQ+ characters–even those that have no sexual content at all. Libraries must serve a broad, diverse public, yet this resolution elevates a particular ideological worldview at the expense of all others, including young people and families that want to access ideas and information in their public library without being stigmatized or discriminated against. The proposal to conduct a “detailed written report” into the library’s past selection of materials using this same subjective standard further appears to be an effort to intimidate and chill the work of librarians–and it ought to be rejected.”

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. Learn more at pen.org.

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