NY Public Library keeping Dr. Seuss books in circulation



The New York Public Library will keep six controversial Dr. Seuss books on the shelves despite this week’s decision to cease their publication due to racist imagery.

The library, which serves Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, said it does not censor books and will keep the controversial titles in circulation until they are no longer in suitable shape to lend out, a spokeswoman said.

“As with all public libraries the New York Public Library does not censor or remove books,” library spokeswoman Angela Montefinise said.

“In this case, the six titles in question are being pulled out of print by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, so the very few copies we have of these titles will continue to circulate until the are no longer in acceptable condition,” Montefinise said.

“In the meantime, librarians, who care deeply about serving their communities and ensuring accurate and diverse representation in our collections — especially children’s books — will certainly strongly consider this information when planning storytimes, displays, and recommendations,” she said.

Montefinise said the books are also part of the library’s historical research collection.

Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel at an event in 1986.
Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel at an event in 1986.
Ron Galella Collection via Getty

A spokesperson for the Brooklyn Public Library said Wednesday that the books also remain in circulation. Officials at the Queens Public Library did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The half dozen books by Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, made news this week when the company that publishes the titles for Penguin Random House, said it would no longer publish them.

The six books — “If I Ran the Zoo,” “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer” — have come under fire in recent years due to its stereotypical portrayal of different ethnic and racial groups.

But major libraries, including the Denver Public Library, said this week that they would keep those titles on their shelves as well.


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