Trans rights: Report into why 'gender critical' books were removed from Calderdale library shelves due soon
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In August, a social media storm erupted after it was reported six titles had been removed from Calderdale library shelves – although they were still available to order from storage.
Now a report into the incident by director of public services Ian Day is almost complete, councillors have heard.
The issue was raised by Councillor Regan Dickenson (Con, Rastrick) at the August meeting of the council’s cabinet following a story in The Telegraph which alleged some books by “gender critical” authors were being removed from public view at the borough’s libraries.
Cabinet member for public services and communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said while some books had been removed, politics was not behind the decision and it was a consequence of an internal human resources (HR) matter, and as such could not be discussed further, although a review would take place.
At a meeting of the full Calderdale Council held recently, Coun Dickenson asked what progress was being made with the review.
“This really, more than anything else, is about the freedom of expression and censorship,” he claimed.
“Please advise me on the outcome of this investigation.
“This is important because in June 2021 the High Court ruled gender critical beliefs are legally protected, hence the removal of books is potentially unlawful.”
Coun Lynn said Mr Day was carrying out a review of the recommendation to relocate six book titles from library shelves to the lending store.
“This review includes reading the six books, consideration of stock management policy and various external professional guidance documents, review of practice in relation to these titles in other areas, consideration of the HR matter and the process applied, review of information provided on the respective loan information – ie, the frequency borrowed whilst on the shelves compared with the frequency in the lending store – and consideration of Equality Act implications,” she said.
“While largely complete, the director of public services is still waiting for some information, which is expected within the next few days, allowing the completion of the review and the production of the final report,” she added.