Harry Potter books OK with board members

Saturday, March 23, 2002

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield school board member Conni Ess has some advice for those seeking the removal of Harry Potter books from the library:

"There may be a lot of books people don't agree with in the libraries," she said. "But rather than complain, tell them not to check it out."

A woman with grandchildren in the district filed a complaint asking that the hugely popular books be removed because of concerns over witchcraft. The woman has not been released by the district.

The Potter series chronicles the fictional adventures of the young Harry Potter as he attends a boarding school for wizards and battles his nemesis, the evil sorcerer Voldemort.

The books remain in Springfield's school libraries but are off the shelves in all 54 libraries while the complaint is reviewed by a committee of teachers, parents, residents and district officials.

Books at reserve desk

Students can still check out the books by requesting them from the reserve desk.

"I don't think we ought to be taking it off the shelf while we look at it," said board member Bruce Renner. "We ought to look at this policy."

A preliminary decision about removing the series may not come until May. If that decision is appealed, the school board may have the final say.

"If it does reach the board, I'm confident it would be decisively shut down," said board member Bruce Chrisope, who hasn't read any books in the children's' series. "If I had time to stop reading the budget and had time to read a novel, that would be great."

Ess suggested a month's time to review the complaint could keep children from reading the books.

"It's putting roadblocks up for kids who may want to read it," Ess said. "For one person to have the power to pull all the books doesn't make sense."

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