Back in the Stacks

March 15th, 2007 | Uncategorized

The Marshall, Missouri Public Library Board of Trustees just voted to return both Fun Home and Craig Thompson’s graphic novel Blankets to the library’s shelves. Here’s an article about it in the Marshall Democrat-News.

23 Responses to “Back in the Stacks”

  1. Jana C.H. says:


    So why are they putting Fun Home in the fiction section instead of biography?

    Oh well, at least it’s there. And the library’s policy netted AB lots of publicity and a sale to the guy who couldn’t get it from the library.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith JcH: Some people drink, some people gamble, some like whips and chains– I buy books.

  2. MrAtoz says:

    It seems strange to me to put this under fiction. I guess they take the term “graphic novel” literally and assume that it’s fiction. My local bookstore did this, too (filed it under Fiction & Literature, Gay & Lesbian). We need a better term than “graphic novel”, I think, since not everything filed under that is a novel.

    In any event, wherever they stuck it, glad to hear that the good people of Marshall, MO will be able to read such a fine work!

  3. VL says:


  4. LWD says:

    As a librarian stories like this are always heartening to read. I work in a very liberal, progressive suburb of Madison WI, and challenges of any kind are extremely rare. I applaud & greatly admire librarians in more conservative communities who buy these materials and then fight to keep them available.

    The librarian who does our GN selecting always makes the point that GNs are not a “genre” but a format–like DVDs. She would agree that “Fun Home” should not be classified as fiction–but she would also encourage libraries to keep all GNs in one area, as they would keep all CDs, regardless of type of music, near each other.

  5. sunicarus says:


    Missouri just became a little less red.

    To second the emotion of Jana C.H. & MrAtoz, I too am curious why the library isn’t filing “Fun Home” under Biography/Memoir? Any librarians out there who have any theories? It would be great to hear your expertise and opinions.

    Whatever the case, I’d like to applaud all those who pressured Marshall to come to its senses.

    I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes given to me by a friend who is obsessed with signature lines.

    “[Librarians] are subversive. You think they’re just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They’re like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn’t mess with them.”

    — Michael Moore

  6. Jaibe says:


    And poor librarians! Becoming internationally famous & wikipediad over this, and then having their patrons making them cry! I know at least Amy Wright reads us here, so congratulations Amy!

    I hope it isn’t mis-categorized because there still haven’t been enough readers to figure out if it’s a novel or a true story (not that those are always exclusive of each other.) It may be if it’s a small library that they don’t have a separate biography area.

  7. Annie in Hawaii says:

    Ah yes, Missouri–Well it’s not the home of the Scopes Monkey Trial but it’s close enuf. Home of creationism in the classroom. Chalk one up for literary freedom (for the moment!)

  8. Eva says:

    Hey! Congratulations!

    I’m backing up LWD’s thesis regarding where Fun Home gets shelved at the library. I did a search, “finding Fun Home in the library” and it’s consistenly listed under “PN6727.B3757 Z46 2006” which is 1. Literature 2. In the same place with all the other comics, cartoon collections, graphic novels, and graphic memoirs/autobiographies.

    By the way, according to my search there were over 600 listings for Fun Home in on-line library catalogs…just imagine how many libraries (with Fun Home in it’s collections) there are without on-line listings on top of that…probably twice as many, probably more!

    So, it’s no disrespect to be listed in “fiction”, given that this type of format (bound books that have as many pictures, maybe more, as words, which are not “children’s literature”) are all shelved basically in the same place. Actually, “fiction” may have been a slack way of describing “literature”, now that I think about it. That part, though, we’ll probably never know for sure.

  9. Eva says:

    Um, of course libraries can shelve books where ever they want. But if they want their patrons to find what they’re looking for, it’s helpful to be consistent. I guess, given the text of the article cited, there’s more flexibility in categorizing and shelving than I realized (20 years I worked in my college library).

    Meanwhile, “Fiction” is actually a distinct category from “Literature”. If it’s listed under “Fiction” Fun Home would be found alphabetically in that catergory under Bechdel. If it’s listed under “Literature” it would be found in the letter/number catergory as shown above.

  10. meg says:

    good news all around.

  11. a different Emma says:

    Another strike for the censors! Another point for artists and lovers of free speech! Plus a nice little bundle of publicity.

    As for categorizing, maybe libraries should just get multiple copies of Fun Home and stick them in all of the places it might belong. How’s that for problem solving? I for one love stumbling upon unsuspected gems in unsuspicious places. But then again, it leaves the little problem of all those other “cross-listed” books.


  12. PixieLauren says:

    Regarding the books: I knew reason would prevail!

    And my inner geek is loving all this talk about library classifications. (My inner geek also always wanted to get an Master’s in Library Science.)

    And regarding categorization: One of the local bookstores here in Cleveland (The one where Alison spoke last October, Joseph Beth Bookstore in a super fancy shopping area called Legacy Village) shelves all biography and autobiography right in with the fiction and literature. It’s totally disconcerting. I hate it.

  13. Emily says:

    I LOVE the adorable nerdiness of this discussion! Oh, and the quote about librarians is awesome. Don’t mess with them… yeah! I think I wanna be a revolutionary librarian, or maybe marry one, or both- we could be a revolutionary librarian couple.

  14. Amy Crump says:

    Um, Fun Home was returned to the Biography shelves, where it had been before the challenge. I’m not sure where the notion that we would put it in fiction came from. Perhaps because Blankets (although semi-autobiographical) is in the fiction shelves.

  15. Josiah says:

    Amy, I hope that you don’t mind having been “Wikipediad” (as Jaibe says) over this — I’m afraid I’m the guilty party. Anyway, congratulations to Marshall for standing against the forces of censorship (slowly, but fairly).

    So, is a five-month-long removal from circulation enough for Fun Home to count as a “banned book”, or is it merely “challenged”? (The ALA discusses the distinction here.)

  16. sunicarus says:

    Thank you, Amy!!!

  17. Katie says:

    Hi Amy,

    I think that confusion arises from this quote in the article linked above:
    “”Fun Home” was, and will remain, in the adult fiction section, according to Crump.”

    Maybe you can help us clarify! It’s wonderful to have seen the board come out in support of FH and Blankets!

  18. Amy Crump says:

    Oops! That was embarrassing. I’m not sure if I mis-spoke or if the reporter wrote it down wrong but at any rate — Fun Home will be in the adult biography section.

  19. Nick Mullins says:

    This is really good news. I’m glad the sanctity of libraries can still be protected from the near-sighted.

    Unfortunately, the Gordon Lee case goes on. Did you hear about this one? Gordon Lee is a comic shop owner in Georgia who handed out an Alternative Comics anthology to a minor for Halloween in 2004. The comic in question had an excerpt from Nick Bertozzi’s wonderful comic, The Salon. The scene excerpted shows the meeting between Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, in which Picasso is completely nude. It’s a funny scene and totally nonsexual, but Gordon Lee has been brought up on obscenity charges. Some charges have been dismissed, but new ones keep coming in. All because of Picasso’s little wang. Why are penises more disturbing than guns?

    Here’s a link:

  20. Eva Whitley says:

    Glad to hear the books are back on the shelves. We had a similar case, locally, some years ago when a woman I knew from the La Leche League got offended by the short story collection “Getting Jesus In The Mood.” The crux of her complaint is that the binding (it was a trade edition) made it look like a book for children (!) and she was concerned her daughter might pick it up and read it.

    It survived the challenge (the woman in question offered to buy all the copies, which I thought missed the point) but I tried checking it out a year later and couldn’t do it? Why? All their copies gradually went missing. Make of that what you will.

  21. genevieve says:

    Congratulations for getting back on the shelf! And I agree – librarians are among our most ardent protectors of free speech these days.

    However, I must nitpick. Anyone else distressed that the article mentioned the Board’s “ROLE call vote”, not once but twice? Like nails on a chalkboard, I tell ya….

  22. shadocat says:

    This makes me so proud– And that guy for Butterfield Youth Services; wasn’t he great? They are a very cool organization that helps a lot of troubled kids and famlies, started by, I believe, one guy wanting to help one homeless kid many years ago. I’d been wondering what if anything had happened with the books—sometimes I really am proud to be a Missouian. (Hey, and now I hear the Mo. house is going to become the second state-after Virgina-to issue a formal apology for slavery to the nation! I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me, for this state, it;s a huge step.)