A Texas minister wants the local public library to remove all books from its young-adult section that deal with supernatural romance, a genre that includes the Vampire Knight manga as well as the Twilight and House of Night novels.
According to the Dayton News, Phillip Missick, pastor of All Saints Tabernacle in Cleveland, Texas, addressed the city council during the public comment period of its Aug. 12 meeting. He also submitted a petition, signed by a number of local ministers, that he had circulated at the Cleveland Ministerial Alliance. He requested that the “occultic and demonic room be shut down, and these books be purged from the shelves, and that public funds would no longer be used to purchase such material, or at least require parents to check them out for their children.” However, at least two of the ministers who signed the petition have since backed off from it.
Missick was apparently referring to the Teen Room of the Austin Memorial Library, which, he states, contains 75 books about the occult, as well as “a demonic stuffed doll and a witch’s hat” (actually Dobby and the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter books). He seems to be particularly concerned with books about vampires, or at least, that’s what local media have picked up on.
Head librarian Mary Merrell Cohn hasn’t spoken directly to the media, but in a letter to Missick, she wrote:
The library is a public library, open to all, no matter their age, race, sexual orientation, religious preferences or social economic standing. City Council adopted the ‘Library Bill of Rights’ [that] states, ‘Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves … Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.’
Cohn also pointed out to the newspaper reporter that the library’s collection includes another frequently banned book, the Bible. Still, local news station KTRK reported the city will prepare a report on the matter for city council.