Censorship Mystery Brewing Inside Public Library - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Censorship Mystery Brewing Inside Public Library


COLUMBIA, Tenn. - The library director has a few choice words for the person blacking-out language they obviously find offensive in books. Staff can not locate the offender because federal law protects patrons.

Library staffers said this is a textbook example of violating Free Speech.  

"It's a book. Why would you want to write in a book? You know? Why mark out of it? Why deface a book? If you don't like what's in it, shut it and bring it back," said Maury County Public Library director Elizabeth Potts.

Staffers at the Maury County public library have counted 50 to 100 books copy edited, illegally.

"I mean, it's not every single book by this lady, or every single book by this man. It's just, randomly," said Potts.

The edited books are always fiction, and more often it is mystery novels being targeted.

"It's one word, in particular. It's the 'f' word," said Potts.

Potts is trying to solve the mystery. She's posted a sign, but tracking the borrowers of a book is nearly impossible, thanks to a federal library law that protects privacy.

There is no paper trail on who's checked-out what. For example, a book borrowed by "Jane Doe" last week gets bumped entirely when "John Doe" borrows the same book.

The law is tying the hands of the library director, who said this self-made censor is binding the mouth of an author.

Potts isn't planning to prosecute; she just wants the man or woman with the marker to stop.

"That's all they have to do is stop. Just stop," said Potts.

The person behind the book-marking could face vandalism charges, and more serious charges if the damages exceed $500.

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