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Last week we told you about the planned “Banned Books Read-In” events at two Des Moines Public Libraries. The events will happen at the Central Library as well as the Franklin Avenue Library.

A book called “Gender Queer” has been at the forefront of the debate on what sexually explicit materials should be available in school libraries. When The Iowa Standard published about a dozen pages from the book, Google flagged the article for containing adult sexual content and Facebook said it violated the company’s community standards on sexual activity. Earlier this month the book’s author said she does not recommend the book for kids.

Tim Paluch, the Des Moines Public Library’s supervisor of marketing and communications, told The Iowa Standard that “Gender Queer” will not be displayed or featured at the event.

“‘Gender Queer’ is categorized as an adult book at the Des Moines Public Library (or adult graphic novel, depending on the building),” Paluch said. “(It’s) not in any kids or teen sections. So for these particular events (kid/teen-focused), that would not be displayed or featured.”

According to the Franklin Avenue Library’s website, the event details are:

“Banned books week is October 1-7, and we’re celebrating your freedom to read! School is out, so come in any time during the day. There will be activities available in the children’s area and you might even win a prize! We’ll also have frequently challenged books available if you’d like to sit and read for a while. This is a drop-in program. Feel free to come whenever it works for you!”

There’s a disclaimer on the event page that states children under 10 years old must be accompanied by a caregiver over 12 years old.

According to the Central Library’s website, additional details are writing a postcard to an author, making some blackout poetry, trying a banned books mad lib and more.


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