Momo is a young girl in Miwa Ueda’s “Peach Girl: Change of Heart” Japanese cartoon series. In volume nine of the series she is struggling with a possible pregnancy, her boyfriend Kairai’s secret past and her life as a tanned girl in a society that values fair skin above all else.
Recently, Library Board President Debbie King lodged a complaint against the book, asking that the library consider the subject matter in the book, which is located in the library’s Youth Services section.
As a result the book has been tagged and will be the topic of discussion at the upcoming library board meeting.
“There has been an objection raised on the basis of content on how certain subjects are dealt with,” said Rodger Brayden, library director.
“I don’t believe the content of the book is appropriate for our Youth Services Department, the material is too old in terms of age,” King said. “It is a Japanese Graphic Novel. The book is about a young girl that believes she is pregnant and is trying to figure out how to abort the baby. It turns out, later on, she is not pregnant but in the meantime she tries to get birth control pills to have a miscarriage. It even has her boyfriend having some people beat her up.”
King said she saw the book on the shelf and picked it up because the format of the book intrigued her.
“I pay attention to what we purchase, it is part of my job,” she said. “It was intriguing to me because I had never seen one of those graphic novels, so that is what caught my attention.”
After reading the book, King lodged a request for consideration with the library.
The request, Brayden said, was lodged not in her capacity as the board president, but as a concerned patron of the library.
“There is a process in our policies because we know something like this will occasionally happen and we want it to be routine, orderly,” he said. “Not that it is routine because it happens all the time, but we want it to be a matter dealt with in a sane, sensible way.”
Following the request, the book was taken to Brayden, who forwarded notifications to the board members. The staff will review the book and it will be circulated to all board members who will provide input. Finally, the book will be discussed at the monthly board meeting and a decision will be reached.
Brayden said the request for reconsideration is not an everyday occurrence.
“I personally have not dealt with this before here,” he said. “It is not really very common. It is not unheard of, but not very common and the first time in my tenure here.”
Volume nine, the only one in the series at the Forest Park Library, was purchased by the previous youth manager at the request of a patron, King said.
Publishers for the Book, Tokyo Pop, describe the book as a Manga romance.
According to the book’s back cover, the book deals with an episode in which “Momo and Kairai appear to be a happy-loving couple, but sometimes things aren’t quite what they seem. When Kairi voices some deep disturbing thoughts, Momo wonders if he’s strong enough to be her man. She decides to delve deeper into her handsome man’s tall, dark life”Momo wants to know the truth, but when she discovers a picture of Kairi with another girl, will she be woman enough to handle the truth?”
King said she doesn’t believe her request to have the book removed is necessarily a bad thing.
“We censor everyday, we censor based on budget on what we think is appropriate for the patrons of Forest Park, based on the interest of the children and on the person’s interest in the book,” she said, “To say that nothing is censored is wrong in any library.”
In fact, she adds, the number one book libraries receive complaints about is the Bible.
According to the library, the book in question is now in transit to another library, which has requested it for one of their patrons.