Editor’s note: The following story is not real, but an April Fool’s Day joke. However, like all effective satire, it is partially based on real events. We appreciate the many comments and emails this story has generated. Please stay vigilant and informed.
The City Council on Wednesday approved a request by local community members to remove more than 20,000 books from the collection of the Canby Public Library.
The move will essentially empty the library’s shelves with the exception of a compact disc of Now That’s What I Call Music! Volume 8, an undubbed VHS of a 1991 episode of Dragon Ball Z, and a battered, barely legible copy of a Chick tract called “Fluoridated Water Turned My Daughter Gay.”
Councilors who supported the measure signaled their agreement with a group of more than two local parents who argued reading at any level could be a “gateway drug” to eventually consuming objectional material.
“We started this effort by developing a list of 40 books in the library’s collection that contain extremely distateful content,” said Karen Cassidy, a mother of four homeschooled children and coordinator of the nonprofit advocacy group Censor? I Hardly Know Her.
“The public library is no place for sex and violence. That’s what television is for.”
But, Cassidy said, the more she and her group researched, the more they realized that the only way to protect the children from the bad books was to get rid of all the books.
“Reading is like any addiction,” she told the City Council. “You have to start somewhere. One day, you’re enjoying a delightful children’s book like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and the next, you’re mainlining Fifty Shades of Gray and Blood Meridian.
“This is exactly why I don’t let my kids have Necco wafers: So they don’t turn into meth addicts.”
Several councilors said they found the argument compelling enough to mothball the Canby Public Library’s entire collection of materials compiled over nearly a century of serving the community, representing a public investment of more than $10 million.
“To me, it all comes down to parents’ rights,” Council President Linzee McKillips explained. “Parents’ rights are absolutely sacred. And, as a parent, Ms. Cassidy has the right to determine what reading materials should be available for, you know, literally everyone. It’s only fair.”
“I’m not a fan of banning books,” Councilor Paul Gurley said. “But art is, by its very nature, up for interpretation, and if some of our community members interpret all books to be evil and bad, who are we to argue with them?”
The motion to remove every book from the library passed, 3-2, over the objections of Canby City Attorney Beck Bennett.
Bennett attempted to explain how the move would be a violation of the First Amendment rights of every library user besides Karen Cassidy, to which McKillips responded by covering her ears and screaming, “Na-na na-na boo-boo, I can’t hear you.”
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