Watch CBS News

Lapeer County public library receives criticism over "inappropriate" book

Lapeer County public library receives criticism over "inappropriate" book
Lapeer County public library receives criticism over "inappropriate" book 03:20

LAPEER, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - A Lapeer County librarian is facing criticism over what some people call an inappropriate book that's on the shelves at the public library.

The book, called "Gender Queer," is described as a coming-of-age memoir chronicling the author's journey of gender identity and coming out to family and friends as non-binary.

"Gender Queer" has been no stranger to controversy. According to Pen America, it's the most banned book in the country.

It's due to illustrations in the book depicting sexual acts. However, library director Amy Churchill doesn't view them to be sexually inappropriate.

"I don't see them as sexually enticing or sexually explicit," she said.

Churchill said a community member requested the book in September. She said the book, which is in the adult section of the library, has been checked out many times since then and currently has a waiting list.

She said the book is in about 150 libraries in Michigan.

"This is not a perverted, obscene book," she said.  "This is a memoir of someone's life."

Churchill said the book has received only one formal request to have it removed with the reason being confusion and not concerns about sexually explicit material.

However, there have been many other critics of the book being in the library, including the Lapeer County Prosecutor John Miller.

"Have you seen the graphic images in the book?" he said. "I don't think your televisions would allow those images on the air."

Miller is concerned about the impact the images could have on kids.

He's also denying a story from Bridge Michigan which reported Miller was considering charging Churchill if the book wasn't removed.

"No that's not the case," he said. "That was completely blown out of proportion."

However, he does say he wants to raise awareness about the book being in the library.

"My goal is to try and educate the public is how this material fits into some of the laws into the state of Michigan, not to threaten someone with prosecution. That's not where we are at," he said.

Churchill said it doesn't matter if Miller's comments were true because she won't be intimidated into removing the book.

"Take the time to read the book and its entirety and try to consider that that's someone's story and life experience that's reflected," she said.  "Every patron who come here to the Lapeer library deserves to see themselves in the collection."

A library board meeting is set to take place on Thursday. The issue of the book is not on the agenda, but community members are expected to show up and speak out against the book during the public comment period. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.