Woman demands book be banned

A Craig resident is asking the local library to remove a book from its shelves, and burn it.

Laurie Johnson requested that not only "Alone Am I" be removed from the shelves of the Craig-Moffat County Library, but that it, and others like it, be burned.

The book is available on audio tape and tells of a man who discovers he is homosexual and spends much of his life reflecting on that decision. Johnson checked it out after discovering a family member was homosexual and was looking for a book to help define homosexuality and how to deal with it.

"This particular book gives people who are confused the idea that homosexuality is OK where it's an abomination of the Lord as far as I'm concerned," Johnson said Monday during a meeting of the Moffat County Libraries Board of Directors. She called the book morally wrong and sick.

"If you're going to have homosexual books in your library, they should be on studies about why and how a person may come to think they are homosexual and how they can get help," Johnson stated in a letter to the library asking that the book be banned.

Johnson attended the meeting with the Rev. Beryl Wright of First Christian Church, who said the library had a responsibility to the community to remove the book.

The book was referred to board members Mary Karen Soloman and Nadine Daszkiewicz who will review it and return next month with a recommendation.

According to board members, a book has never been banned from the library.

The book has been critically acclaimed and was recommended as a good addition to a diverse collection, library Director Donna Watkins said. It was awarded the 1998 Novel of the Year of the Blackboard African-American Bestsellers Inc., and has been touted as "intelligent handling of a difficult subject."

Watkins said there is little chance the book will be removed from library shelves.

"We cannot allow any personal beliefs mine, the staff's or the public I serve to interfere with a balanced collection," she said. "That book must remain on our shelves. It's not about that book, it's about the First Amendment of the Constitution."

Watkins said she was against banning any book and said it won't happen without a fight.

"I have every confidence that my board will make an intelligent and mature decision," she said.

The board meets again at 5:30 p.m. March 20.

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