Indiana Library Halves Section For Teens Amid Push For 'Age Appropriate' Books

The Hamilton East Public Library's board of trustees ordered an extensive review of titles that is expected to cost up to $300,000.

The Hamilton East Public Library in Indiana has emptied over half of its teen section as it searches for books deemed inappropriate for children, the Indianapolis Star reported Friday.

The section has been stripped of novels like “Forever” by Judy Blume, as well as comics, books about puberty, and more after the library’s board of trustees ordered staffers to review titles over the next few months, IndyStar said.

In December, the board implemented a policy saying books that are not “age appropriate” must be removed from the teen section and relocated to sections for adults, with the extensive review process expected to cost up to $300,000.

The policy measures age appropriateness based on criteria related to nudity, alcohol and drug use, violence and sexual content. During a board meeting Thursday, the policy was expanded to include a list of profanity and criminal acts considered inappropriate for young readers.

According to official documents, “18,000 individual copies [of books] are impacted” by the policy.

The move follows similar library reviews across the country — a conservative-led push that has targeted books on race and LGBTQ+ topics. According to a recent report from the American Library Association, attempts to ban and restrict books in schools and public libraries surged in 2022 to a record level.

Such efforts have led librarians to be harassed and threatened with legal action. In Indiana, school librarians could soon face felony charges if they fail to comply with House Bill 1447, a proposal that seeks to ban “harmful materials” from school libraries. The bill was passed by Indiana legislators this week and now awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

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