NLB decision guided by community norms: Yaacob

NLB decision guided by community norms: Yaacob
And Tango Makes Three and The White Swan Express were removed from the National Library's shelves. Photo: Wee Teck Hian
In withdrawing three children’s titles, the NLB’s approach was to reflect existing social norms, he says
Published: 5:26 PM, July 11, 2014
Updated: 7:02 PM, July 11, 2014
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SINGAPORE – Minister for Communication and Information Yaacob Ibrahim has weighed in on the debate over the National Library Board’s (NLB) decision to withdraw three children’s titles that do not promote family values, saying that the “NLB’s approach is to reflect existing social norms, and not to challenge or seek to change them”.

In a Facebook post earlier this afternoon (July 11), Dr Yaacob said the NLB’s decision was guided by “community norms”.

“The prevailing norms, which the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans accept, support teaching children about conventional families, but not about alternative, non-traditional families, which is what the books in question are about.

“This approach is shared between all public agencies dealing with the education and care of young Singaporeans.,” he added.

Dr Yaacob’s comments come as online debate over the NLB’s decision intensifies – with one camp applauding the NLB for what it had done while others criticise such actions and call for the books to be reinstated.

He added that the NLB’s decisions were only made to books in the children’s section. “NLB is not deciding what books children can or cannot read. That decision remains with the parents, as it always has been. People can buy these titles for their children if they wish.

“Rather, NLB has to decide what books should be made readily available to children, who are sometimes unsupervised, in the children’s section of our public libraries,” said Dr Yaacob.



Here is Dr Yaacob’s statement in full:

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