2 titles removed by NLB back on shelves in adult section

Copies of And Tango Makes Three and The White Swan Express will be available from Tuesday.
Copies of And Tango Makes Three and The White Swan Express will be available from Tuesday.

Two children's titles previously removed by the National Library Board (NLB) will be back on its shelves on Tuesday.

NLB's two copies of And Tango Makes Three will go to the Tampines and Jurong regional libraries. Its only copy of The White Swan Express will be at the Woodlands Regional Library.

They will be part of the social sciences collection in the adult section, the NLB said yesterday in response to queries from The Straits Times.

The NLB had pulled these two titles and a third, Who's In My Family by Robie H. Harris, from its children's section this year following public feedback that they contained references to homosexuality.

Harris' book, which discusses various family types including those with same-sex parents, was discarded earlier this year.

Separately, three books on sex education for children were also removed from its collection earlier this year following an internal review.

When asked if these titles would be reinstated too, a spokesman for the library board said they "could be considered under the new review framework that NLB is working on".

NLB's decision to remove the books caused an uproar online and in the literary community, with several writers dropping out of NLB-related events.

Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim then stepped in and asked the library board to reinstate the titles in the adult section.

At a press conference last Friday to announce this, NLB's chief executive Elaine Ng also said that the library board would fine-tune its existing review process, and possibly involve a panel of external voices. Details are to come.

The compromise may go some way in calming waters stirred by the episode.

Authors of the Sherlock Sam children's books series, Adan Jimenez and Felicia Low-Jimenez, were approached by the library board yesterday to work with it under its Read! Singapore initiative.

The couple said they are "happy to know that there is a concrete and efficient plan to put the books back into circulation".

They have also told NLB that they are open to working with the board again once it reinstates the books and holds an open dialogue session with readers and writers.