Singapore

NLB instructed not to pulp controversial books: Yaacob

NLB instructed not to pulp controversial books: Yaacob
And Tango Makes Three and The White Swan Express, which were withdrawn by the NLB after they were deemed as not pro-family. Photo: Wee Teck Hian
Books to be placed in adult section, NLB asked to review process
Published: 10:44 AM, July 18, 2014
Updated: 10:59 AM, July 18, 2014

SINGAPORE — Two books pulled off the shelves of the library’s children’s section will not be pulped, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim told the Straits Times. Instead, they will be moved to the adult section.

“I have also asked NLB to review the process by which they deal with such books,” Dr Yaacob said in comments which were also posted on his Facebook page today (July 18).

The two books — And Tango Makes Three and The White Swan Express — were withdrawn after a complaint on the public “We are against Pinkdot in Singapore” Facebook page. Among the concerns were the depictions of families with same-sex parents. It later emerged that a third book, Who’s In My Family, was withdrawn in May following a complaint made to the NLB.

“Many objected to the idea that the books would be pulped after being withdrawn from circulation. I understand these reactions, which reflect a deep-seated respect in our culture for the written word,” Dr Yaacob posted on Facebook.

“Who’s In My Family had already been disposed of as the title had been reviewed earlier. But I have instructed NLB not to pulp the two other titles, but instead to place them in the adult section of the public libraries.

“The decision on what books children can or cannot read remains with their parents. Parents who wish to borrow these books to read with their children will have the option to do so.”

He reiterated his support of the library’s stand to withdraw the books.

“We stand by the NLB’s decision to remove the three books from the children’s section. As I said earlier, the NLB has to decide what books should be made readily available to children, who are usually unsupervised, in the children’s section of our public libraries,” he said.

“The NLB will continue to ensure that books in the children’s section are age-appropriate. We have a much wider range of books in the adult section of public libraries.” CHANNEL NEWSASIA