The league of sex-censoring librarians

Two Kentucky librarians who decided a graphic novel was obscene have been fired for refusing to let an 11-year-old check out the book.

Sharon Cook, an employee of the Jessamine County library, checked out The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume IV: The Black Dossier in 2008 and kept it out so nobody could read it. She stuck pink and yellow highlighter tags on the pages with explicit sexual content.

When Cook went to renew The Black Dossier on Sept. 21, the computer would not allow it because of the hold. Cook used her employee privileges to find out that the patron desiring the book was an 11-year-old girl.

This would not do.

Cook persuaded a fellow library employee, Beth Boisvert, to cancel the hold so the child couldn’t get the book. Both were fired.

What complicates this is that the graphic novel in question meets no standard of obscenity by the law.

While it does contain many images of varied and explicit sexual behavior, it has been the subject of academic study. It was named by Time Magazine as one of its Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2007 and called “genius,” applauded for its ability to “pluck out the strange and angry and contradictory bits that underlie so much of the culture we live and think with today.”

The League books, which are written for adults, use 19th-century literary characters in action plots. This one stars H. Rider Haggard’s Allan Quatermain and Mina Murray of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, “teasing the reader in the know with appearances by Orwellian totalitarianism, Lovecraftian abominations, Jeeves and Wooster, Bulldog Drummond, Ian Fleming’s famed double-o operative, lusty Fanny Hill and a host of others,” says Publishers Weekly.

Via PW’s The Beat.