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Good Grief, Charlie Brown! Family Stunned By Porn Comics at Library

April 12, 2006

By Miguel Gonzalez, Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.

Apr. 12–VICTORVILLE — When 16-year-old Matt Jones checked out a book from the Victorville public library entitled, “Manga: Sixty years of Japanese comics,” he got a real eyeful.

The book, which is shelved next to Charlie Brown and other comic books, contains some X-rated cartoons depicting graphic sexual acts, including sex with animals.

“I like Japanese cartoons, but I did not expect to see those images and I returned the book the next day,” Matt Jones said.

His mother, Cynthia Jones, was horrified.

“I’ve strived to keep this stuff away from my children,” she said. “To find out that my children could check out pornography out of my local library has really shocked me.”

Cynthia Jones, who considers herself and her two kids devout Christians, wrote a letter to the county library system asking them to remove the book.

To Jones’ surprise, the county wrote back saying she was the only person complaining about the book and it would not be removed.

“This is a book that is available for any under-age kid to check out. If the library refuses to remove it they should at least restrict who views the book,” she said.

County Library Collection Development Coordinator Nannette Bricker-Barret said that it is not up to the library system to determine what under age members should view.

“It is the parents’ responsibility since the library does not act as a parent,” Barret said. “It is the library’s responsibility to offer a broad spectrum of materials, not to exclude materials.”

Parent Tamara Innis, who visited the Victorville library on Tuesday, considered the images deserving of a restrictive rating.

“They do it with music, why not with a book with pornographic content?” she wondered.

Barret said that since the book was purchased about a year ago, it has been correctly placed in the adult collection.

“Library policy affirms the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read and Freedom to View statements,” she said.

And even though the book was placed in the adult section, so were other cartoon books such as The Hulk, Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts, Jones said.

“That represents a wide variety in the full spectrum of comics,” Barret explained.

To date, the book, which is also available in local branches in Barstow, Apple Valley and Hesperia, remains free to check out to any card carrying patron in good standing, regardless of age.

Matt Jones said the book was misleading since most of the Xrated material is located toward the back pages.

“It starts with normal cartoons and as you turn the pages it gets very freaky,” the 16-year old said.

That situation could change soon in Victorville since on July 1, the city will take over for the county in running the library.

“We will look at the current inventory and work to ensure a proper atmosphere at the library,” Victorville spokeswoman Yvonne Hester said.

In the countywide system the library has 13 copies of the book, which has been checked out approximately 128 times since it was bought in May of 2005.

Jones said she will continue to request the restriction of the book and any others that could affect children.

“Many children in spring break are visiting that library and parents should be concerned.”

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Copyright (c) 2006, Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.

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