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San Bernadino County Libraries Pull Manga History Book

Bill Postmus, chairman of the board of supervisors of suburban San Bernadino County, California, has ordered the county's libraries to remove the scholarly text, MANGA: SIXTY YEARS OF JAPANESE COMICS, from circulation, reports On the county's website, he called the book obscene and added, "that book is absolutely inappropriate for a public library and as soon as I was made aware of it yesterday, I ordered it to be removed immediately."

The controversy started in Victorville, when a 16-year-old checked the book out of the adult section of the library. In a report in the DESERT DISPATCH, the teen's mother "was horrified and wrote a letter to the library requesting that the book be pulled.

However, county library collection development coordinator Nannette Bricker-Barrett, said, "It is the parents' responsibility since the library does not act as a parent. It is the library's responsibility to offer a broad spectrum of materials, not to exclude materials Library policy affirms the American Library Association's Library Bill of rights, Freedom to Read, and Freedom to View statements." The county-wide system had 13 copies of the book in its collection.

The 2004 trade paperback, written by Paul Gravett and published by Harper Design, is a history of Japanese comics, including several chapters addressing adult comics that depict sex and violence.

San Bernadino County, east of Los Angeles, includes such suburban communities as Ontario, Chino, Fontana, Barstow and Twenty-Nine Palms.

In addition, Postmus has called for the library system, "to draft a plan to protect children from inappropriate books and other materials that may currently exist in the county library system."

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Rick DeMott
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