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Libraries weigh future of Dr. Seuss books that will no longer be published

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Libraries across central Indiana are speaking up after concerns were raised about racist and insensitive imagery in six Dr. Seuss books that will no longer be published.

Those books include “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo.”

Cheryl Dobbs, executive director of the Greenwood Public Library, said, “It’s very concerning, and we want to make sure that we are sensitive to every view point.”

Dobbs says the library is considering removing these books. It’ll need to evaluate them and make sure they’re in line with their collection development policy, which includes making sure books reflect the diversity of the community.

“We’re constantly evaluating our collection to make sure that we’re constantly providing a collection that would do that that would bring people in and encourage them to read,” Dobbs said.

At the Indianapolis Public Library, its leaders say they will not be removing their books but are considering moving them to the adult section. “Books are one of our core missions and having a collection that represents the community’s values is really important to us, but also honoring intellectual freedom and the right for people to read whatever they want,” said Deb Lambert, the library’s director of collection management.

The Indianapolis library sees high demand for Dr. Seuss books. The hope is adults can have conversations with their families.

“We want people who are older adults who want to be nostalgic and read these books and share them with their grandchildren and talk to them about those times,” Lambert said. “There is a place for these books in conversations in life.”

Some parents tell News 8 these Dr. Seuss books are causing a lot of harm. “The imagery that Dr. Seuss used in his books is hurtful,” Nikki Reed said. “It’s absolutely racist, and the images that we show our children help form them into who they are.”

Reed says she’s now having conversations about these books with her kids and hopes other parents will do the same.

“My older girls, ages 9 and 11, and we have absolutely had that conversation,” Reed said. “We have looked at those images online together and just talked about why they are offensive.”

Avon Public Library leaders are also taking a closer look at Dr. Seuss books.

In regard Dr. Seuss books in school libraries, Holly Lawson, the Indiana Department of Education deputy director of communications, says, “Curriculum, including book selection, is determined entirely at the local level.”