SINGAPORE - The National Library Board's (NLB) decision to pull certain children's titles was guided by community norms, and not based on a single complaint, and only pertains to the children's section of the public libraries, Communication and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said on Friday.
In a Facebook post addressing the recent controversy over NLB's removal of at least three children's titles, he said public libraries serve the community, and "it is right that they give consideration to community norms".
"The prevailing norms, which the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans accept, support teaching children about conventional families, but not about alternative, non-traditional families, which is what the books in question are about," he said.
Dr Yaacob added that NLB has a process "where its officers carefully consider such feedback, before making a decision". He said NLB had assessed "the merits of the complaint".
The library board does not decide what books children should read, and the decision has always been with parents, said Dr Yaacob.
"Rather, NLB has to decide what books should be made readily available to children, who are sometimes unsupervised, in the children's section of our public libraries."
Dr Yaacob added that the libraries' adult sections have wider guidelines, and a wider range of titles on their shelves.