NLB saga: Two removed children's books will go into adult section at library

SINGAPORE - Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim has instructed the National Library Board to place two controversial children's books in its adult section, instead of pulping them.

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Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim's full statement is reproduced below:

"Over the past week, there has been a vigorous debate on the National Library Board's (NLB) decision to withdraw the three children's books 'And Tango Makes Three', 'The White Swan Express', and 'Who's In My Family?'.

"We stand by NLB's decision to remove the three books from the children's section. As I said earlier, NLB has to decide what books should be made readily available to children, who are usually unsupervised, in the children's section of our public libraries. NLB will continue to ensure that books in the children's section are age-appropriate. We have a much wider range of books in the adult section of public libraries.

"Many objected to the idea that the books would be pulped after being withdrawn from circulation. I understand these reactions, which reflect a deep-seated respect in our culture for the written word. 'Who's in My Family' had already been disposed of as the title had been reviewed earlier. But I have instructed NLB not to pulp the two other titles, but instead to place them in the adult section of the public libraries. I have also asked NLB to review the process by which they deal with such books.

"The decision on what books children can or cannot read remains with their parents. Parents who wish to borrow these books to read with their children will have the option to do so."