SINGAPORE: The National Library Board's (NLB) recent decision to remove two children's titles has sparked controversy. A check with two retailers showed the books are not readily available, and that the authors are not well-known.
The books, titled "And Tango Makes Three" and "The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption", were recently taken off the shelves of public libraries for not being "pro-family".
Local bookseller Woods in the Books says it has received a few enquiries about the books since the NLB's decision. Owner Shannon Ong says she has not heard of the titles, but is not against bringing them in.
"I would be interested to look at the overall content and the quality of the book, and if it fits the criteria for how we normally curate our books," she said. "We will just keep it very neutral, based on what we have been doing."
A check with MPH Bookstores showed the books are not carried there, as the authors are not well-known. The bookstore has not received any enquiries about the titles.
The National Library move has generated quite a bit of buzz, and the members of the public Channel NewsAsia spoke to had mixed views about the decision. "I think that (the books) should be pulled out, because it's not the kind of values which we want to impart to our future generation," said one. Another felt that "if the books are needed somehow for education purposes, I think can put a caution there, something like PG16."
Some others have decided to make their views known in other ways. Novelist and playwright Ovidia Yu announced her resignation from the Singapore Writers' Festival Steering Committee, citing programme partner NLB as the reason.
A group of writers, including poets Felix Cheong and Gwee Li Sui, have also decided to boycott a panel discussion they were supposed to have at the National Library on Sunday. Earlier this year, the National Library had also withdrawn a children's book titled "Who's in my Family?: All About Our Families.
Some netizens have also come together to organise a reading event this Sunday, where parents and their children can enjoy their favourite books. Copies of "And Tango Makes Three" and "Who's in My Family?" will also be made available for sharing. - CNA/xy
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