The National Library Board (NLB) has withdrawn only three books “as a result of customer feedback”, the library insisted.
A Straits Times report which had claimed that the library had in fact withdrawn six books, instead of just three, was “sensational”, the NLB said.
T Sundaraj, the NLB’s director of Communications, Relations and Development, says in his letter to the newspaper that the report also implied that the NLB had been “misleading.”
Mr Sundaraj’s letter was in response to an earlier Straits Times report on Tuesday (15 July) which claimed that the “NLB had pulled more books off its shelves” than just the three which NLB insisted it did.
“At least six children’s books have been pulled off the shelves in recent months, more than previously confirmed by the National Library Board,” the Straits Times’ report on Tuesday said.
Last Saturday, Ms Elaine Ng, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the NLB, said the library had withdrawn only three books after feedback from the public.
It had also explained that the books were yanked off the shelves because they were not “pro-family.”
The first three books were “And Tango Makes Three”, “The White Swan Express”, and “Who’s In My Family?”
The other three books which the Straits Times said the NLB had also removed were by author Robie Harris.
These were: “It’s Not The Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families And Friends”; “It’s So Amazing!: A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, And Familie”s; and “It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, And Sexual Health”.
In his letter, Mr Sundaraj said only the first three books were removed “as a result of customer feedback” – while the other three “were withdrawn after they were reviewed internally for age-appropriateness.”
“We have consistently stated that the three titles that were the subject of controversy – And Tango Makes Three, The White Swan Express and Who’s In My Family? – were the only books we withdrew this year as a result of customer feedback,” Mr Sundaraj’s letter said.
The Straits Times responded that its report “was not meant to be sensational.”
“We had asked the NLB to clarify the number of books withdrawn recently after learning that there were more than three, but NLB did not respond to our queries, until this letter,” the paper said.