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Protesters gather against new Hamilton East library policy

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — A small group of protesters gathered outside the Hamilton East Public Library Noblesville location to protest the new “Collection Development Policy” and also show support for librarians.

The policy requires strict attention be given to nudity, alcohol and drug use, profanity, violence, and sexual content before a book is placed in the children or teen sections. Books that do not meet the requirement will be placed in the adult section.

Library staff says there are approximately 18,000 items that will require review from the teen section and they estimate this will take 8,000 hours over the next year.

Kara Hwang, a Fishers resident against the new “Collection Development Policy,” says since books are being moved from the children’s and teen section into the adult section, they could be intermingled with books containing the same themes that the board was trying to protect them from.

“It seems like the solution is worse than the problem because kids are going to be perusing books that are actually written and intended for adults,” Hwang said.

Protesters say this is a waste of time and money for the library. Staff is requesting three permanent full-time staff members plus additional part staffers to comply with this new policy. In addition, they requested five to eight part-time, temporary staff members to help in the initial review of the books.

The Operational Response Plan estimates this will cost over $335,000 over the two phases.

Cathy Sutton is a former librarian of 32 years and a Noblesville resident against the policy.

“They’re spending a ridiculous amount of money. They don’t realize how much work and effort they’re making and they’re not listening to their highly trained librarians who are saying how much work they are creating for these people,” Sutton said.

Sutton says libraries use tools such as publisher and book reviewer recommendations to shelve books.

“The librarians here know what they are doing,” Sutton said. “When they place a book in the children’s section or the teen section, that is based on years and years of dealing with these kinds of books.”

The group is also concerned these changes will take away from the library budget for programming and new books.

The library board is set to meet this 6:15 p.m. Thursday in the Noblesville library, 1 Library Plaza. That’s off Cumberland Road north of Conner Street, also known as State Roads 32 and 38.