"Street Erotica" Book Display At Library Draws Criticism - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

"Street Erotica" Book Display At Library Draws Criticism

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by Jason Lamb

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Would you want your kids to read books with titles like "Still Dirty," "Girls From Da Hood" or "A Gangster's Girl?"

They're all part of a genre of books called "Street Erotica," and the Nashville Public Library's southeast branch has been prominently displaying them just feet away from where children of all ages are reading and studying.

City leaders said the display is offensive and they're demanding it be taken down.

Library patrons NewsChannel 5 spoke with said they were surprised the library would put up a display in the center of the library promoting books that depict illegal behavior with sexually suggestive cover photos.

"For you to show that to me, where it's right there where everybody is sitting, right with the computers, that's probably not right," said Trai Rhoades, who visited the library on Sunday.

Metro Councilwoman Jacobia Dowell was shocked by what she saw.

"That's horrible, I mean I believe in free speech but I just think we could highlight something else," she said."

Library administrator Larry Price said the street erotica books are frequently checked out at the Southeast branch and that it's not up to them to overlook popular books.

"Not all the books have happy endings, but people who live in central urban settings don't necessarily have happy lives these are topics that are central to what they experience daily," Price said.

NewsChannel 5 asked Price to clarify his comments about the topics of the books, which include drug dealing and prostitution.

"If you are looking at central urban settings, those are daily facts of life," Price said.

Price also defended the signage on the display meant to attract patrons to the books.

"The words that are on the display are words commonly used in reference in urban literature," said Price. "They are adjectives - things like ‘gangstas' - and this is representative of that urban setting."

Dowell said the library should be doing something more productive with taxpayer money.

She said it's not that the library shouldn't have the books, but that they shouldn't be prominently displayed.

"We have so many schools out in the area and all those schools have reading lists," Dowell said.  "This is a wonderful opportunity to promote those reading lists to students that attend schools in the area."

She said the display is offensive and unacceptable, and she wants it taken down.

Price said the southeast branch in Antioch is the only library in Nashville with a street erotica display, and that's because Street Erotica books are checked out four times more frequently than most other books at the library.

Officials said before NewsChannel 5's report, they hadn't heard any complaints about the display.

Email: jlamb@newschannel5.com
Twitter: Twitter.com/NC5_JasonLamb
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5JasonLamb

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