Article published Nov 29,
is expected for decision on book 'Lolita'
OCALA - Terry
Blaes said she will appeal the Marion County Public Library Director's position
that the book, "Lolita," is appropriately placed in the adult section of the
Asked why she planned to appeal the decision to the Board of the
Marion County Board of County Commissioners, Blaes said, "To find out how the
County Commission, which has established a policy in order to make certain types
of books unavailable - to find out whether their policy applies to this
Blaes, former chairman of the now defunct Library
Advisory Board, filed a Statement of Concern on Sept. 23 questioning whether,
"Lolita," a novel by Vladimir Nabokov that contains themes of pedophilia and
incest, should be considered unsuitable for minors and, therefore, placed in a
restricted area of the library instead of the open stacks of the adult section
of the library.
Under library policy and procedures, Library Director
Julie Sieg appointed a committee of librarians to review Blaes' statement, to
read the book and render an opinion as to what, if anything, should be done with
the novel, considered by many to be a classic piece of literature.
committee of librarians concluded that the book was suitable for the adult
section of the library.
There are four copies of, "Lolita," in the
library's collection, two at the library's headquarters, one at the Friendship
Library branch and one at the Forest branch.
Sieg, who read the book and
the librarians' report, also found the book to be acceptable for the adult
section. She sent Blaes a letter on Nov. 18 outlining her
Blaes, or any other member of the community, has 30 days from
the date of Sieg's letter to appeal the library director's decision. Sieg said
Monday that she has not yet received an appeal of her decision from Blaes or
"This is a busy time of the year," Blaes said about her
appeal. "It will be within the 30 days, though." She said she was not surprised
by Sieg's decision.
When Sieg receives appeal documents, she has seven
days to forward them to the County Commission chairman for consideration by the
board of commissioners.
The board has 45 days to review the appeal. After
all testimony has been heard, the board has 30 days to issue a written opinion.
Any further appeals must be made to the Circuit Court of the Fifth Judicial
Neither Commissioner Andy Kesselring nor Randy Harris has seen
Sieg's written decision nor has either read, "Lolita."
something that's on my reading list at this point in time," Kesselring said. But
he said that, if Sieg's decision is appealed, he will read the
Harris said he "didn't have any idea," whether he would read the
book but said he did not believe he would have to read the entire book to
determine if it is appropriate for children to read without parental
"I don't know if I will read the book," Harris said. "Any person
anywhere of average intelligence can look at materials unsuitable for children
without parent consent without reading an entire book."
He said there is
nothing in state law that would require him to read the entire book.
recognize the difference between legitimate concerns expressed to the commission
by parents of children and grandparents and other citizens and what is occurring
today, which is entirely different," Harris said.
He said Blaes is
Blaes has filed the first complete Statement of Concern
under the county's new policy that allows the County Commission to remove a book
from the open stacks of the adult section of the library and place them in a
restricted section if the commission deems the book inappropriate for
Blaes said that she believes that the commission will have to
discuss the book in a public meeting.
"If they uphold her position that
this book was appropriately selected and appropriately placed in the library in
this public meeting, they would have to say why they believe that, and that's
what I am interested in hearing," Blaes said.
On the other hand, if
commissioners disagree with Sieg's opinion, Blaes said they will have to do
something with the book.
Would she consider appealing such a decision to
the circuit court?
"We will have to cross that bridge when it comes,"
Susan Latham Carr may
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352)