Rutherford County votes to keep two books on shelves

*Editor’s note: This story was originally published before the Rutherford County Library Board voted to keep the two books in question. The story below has been edited to reflect the vote.

MURFREESBORO Tenn. (WKRN) — Tiffany Fee is asking a lot of questions these days.

“I mean, are we going to remove any single book in the library now that has a sex scene in it?” she said. “Who gets to decide which ones are appropriate and which ones are not?”

Her questions started coming back in June, after the Murfreesboro City Council voted to approve the city’s new decency standards ordinance.

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“What we’re seeing is the city of Murfreesboro has passed this controversial decency ordinance and it’s affecting our entire county library system,” said Fee.

Shortly after the ordinance was enacted, Fee and her husband created the Rutherford County Library Alliance.

“Our mission is to keep our library system inclusive for all groups of people,” she said.

Four books have been banned from the county library system for violating this ordinance.

During the August library board meeting, chair Steven Sullivan addressed the concerns regarding the ordinance.

“Our job is to adhere to laws, local ordinances, and state laws,” he said. “And as long as those laws are still in the book, that’s what we’re tasked to do.”

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He claimed at the meeting that this wasn’t an attack on homosexuality, queer, gay, and/or transgender rights, but the books that were being questioned at the time were taking a route to describe their beliefs using child pornography to potentially do that.

Now, two more books are up for reconsideration – “Queen Charlotte” and “Sex is a Funny Word”.

“It feels like government overreach,” said Fee.

Fee said she’s worried about just how far things could go.

“The city of Murfreesboro funds 44% of our county’s library system, but they are now with this decency ordinance allowed to control 100% of the material that’s available throughout our county (and) throughout our diverse communities,” she said.

According to Fee, her group will continue to fight to make sure their library system stays a diverse and inclusive place for everyone.

“When you remove that, you’re removing the safety and the reassurance that people belong where they are,” she said.

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Fee said they are hoping to turn their group into a nonprofit later in the future.

The Library Board voted to keep these two books at their meeting Sept. 18 meeting.

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