Book that drew ire from Lt. Gov. Robinson removed from Wake County Public Libraries

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A book that drew sharp criticism from Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson has now been removed from Wake County Public Libraries.

“Gender Queer” was added to Wake County Public Libraries’ adult collection in 2019, according to Wake County spokesperson Alice Avery.

The book, which explores gender identity, was written by Maia Kobabe and was published in 2019.

She said WCPL recently received a “request for reconsideration” about “Gender Queer” which led to the title being reviewed.

“After the review, WCPL determined that the book does contain explicit illustrations that do not align with WCPL’s selection policy,” Avery said in a statement to CBS 17.

“Gender Queer” is the only book pulled from Wake County Public Libraries in the 2021 calendar year, and the first book to be removed since 2015 after a request was received, according to Avery.

Seven copies of the book were in circulation. WCPL originally purchased 19 copies in 2019, but over time copies went missing or went into “long overdue” status.

When a “Request for Reconsideration” is received, the book senior library manager for Collection Development Services reviews the book in consultation with the deputy library director and library director, according to Avery.

“The senior manager reads the book as well, as professional reviews that were written about it,” she said. “If it’s determined that a book needs to be removed, the director of Wake County’s Community Services department is also made aware.”

Avery said the “Request for Reconsideration” also asked for the book “Lawn Boy” to be reconsidered. The book was reviewed and will remain in the adult collection.

LGBT Center of Raleigh Interim Executive Director Dolph Goldenburg said the group should’ve been consulted.

“We have decades of experience being a library for our community, and they did not reach out and have this conversation with us is concerning,” Goldenburg said. “We want to build a bridge and we want to be working with them to make sure there is representation in every library in the system.”

He said people who go to the library should be able to find supportive and affirming resources and books being removed undermine that. Goldenburg said the center wants to work with the library and provide them 25 copies of queer affirming books to replace each copy of “Gender Queer” that was removed.

In October, Robinson brought the book into the spotlight after he made comments referring to being transgender and homosexuality as “filth.”

As calls for his resignation grew, Robinson posted a video defending what he said and calling attention to three books he said were in North Carolina schools, including “George,” “Lawn Boy,” and “Gender Queer.”

In the video, he showed explicit images from “Gender Queer.”

The book has sparked controversy across the country including in South Carolina where Gov. Henry McMaster requested an investigation into “obscene and pornographic materials” in public schools after parents complained about the contents of “Gender Queer.”

Robinson issued a statement to CBS 17 Wednesday night:

The book “Gender Queer” being available in an adult section of a public library is not the issue. The issue is that this book, which was marked for the adult section in the public library, and blurred out when being shown on television, is currently easily accessible to minors in our public education system. That is the problem.

One of the main themes within my office’s report on indoctrination in North Carolina was the sexualization of our students. We are glad to see parents exposing what is going on in their children’s schools.

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