HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. — Famed Indianapolis author John Green took to social media to call Hamilton East Public Library’s decision to move his books — including best-seller “The Fault in Our Stars” — from the Young Adult section to the Adult section “an embarrassment.”
“This is ludicrous,” Green said on Twitter after learning of the decision. “It is about teenagers and I wrote it for teenagers. Teenagers are not harmed by reading TFIOS. This is such an embarrassment…”
The decision to move “The Fault in Our Stars” from the Young Adult section to the general, Adult section came as part of Hamilton East Public Library’s new policy to review materials available in their children and teen sections in order to ensure the books are “age appropriate.” Green’s book was but one of hundreds to have been recently relocated, noted here in the latest board meeting agenda.
According to our previous reports, “age-appropriate” materials cannot contain sexual content or descriptions of sexual content. In “The Fault in Our Stars,” a teenage girl who is a cancer patient meets a teenage cancer survivor and the pair fall in love, eventually losing their virginity to one another.
Many took to Twitter to criticize the library’s decision, calling the best-selling story that spawned a 2014 film adaptation “beautiful” and “inspiring.”
One Twitter user even said she read “The Fault in Ours Stars” with her teenager.
“It was absolutely beautiful and not something to hide from,” Twitter user @amalranthony wrote. “HEPL is a disgrace.”
Green followed up his statement about the decision being “an embarrassment” by saying, “you won’t catch me alive or dead in Fishers, Indiana until these ridiculous policies are revoked.”
According to previous reports, the Hamilton East Public Library anticipates that roughly half the books currently housed in the Young Adult section will be moved to the general, Adult section once the entire review process is completed.
The library said the review process comes with a cost of upwards of $300,000 due to the library needing to hire more staff to read the books for any mention of sexual content.
“I think the money could definitely be better spent elsewhere,” library patron Jacob Shillings previously remarked.
Library’s decisions to move books to other sections or ban them outright for the inclusion of sexual, gender identity or LGBTQ+ content has been met with frequent criticism and heated debates across the United States from both supporters and opponents of such decisions.
Critics often point out that sexual content isn’t seen as “age appropriate” for teenagers as studies show that most Americans have intercourse for the first time as a teenager. Green argued that his books are about teens and deal with things teenagers experience and therefore deserve to be in the Young Adult section.
Hamilton East Public Library board member Micah Beckwith, who supports the policy, previously said he believes it’s the board’s duty to set standards. He noted that while the books are being moved, they aren’t being banned and will still be in the library.
The library did not clarify if religious books, such as the Bible, would be included in the review for containing sexual content.
To date, Hamilton East Public Library has relocated 1,385 titles to the Adult section but still has nearly 75% of the library’s content to be vetted.
Hamilton East Public Library has not responded to requests for comment at this time.