A Bentonville, Ark., man is seeking $20,000 from the city after his two teenage sons found a book on lesbian sex on a public library bookshelf.
He also wants the library director fired. Earl Adams said his 14- and 16-year-old sons were "greatly disturbed" after finding the book, titled "The Whole Lesbian Sex Book." Adams said the book caused "many sleepless nights in our house."
Adams said the book is "patently offensive and lacks any artistic, literary or scientific value," according to a letter he faxed to Mayor Bob McCaslin. He said the teenagers found it while browsing for material on military academies.
Adams wants the city to pay $10,000 to each of his sons. That’s the maximum allowed under the Arkansas obscenity law. However, the city’s attorney dismissed Adams’ claim as baseless. She said the book is not pornographic.
"There is not a valid legal concern here," Camille Thompson said. "In fact, (the request for money) made me question his motivation."
The library’s advisory board voted earlier this month to remove the book from circulation. Board member George Spence said he found the book crude, but said it could be replaced with one taking a "more sensitive, more clinical approach."
In an e-mail Thursday, Adams said that "God was speaking to my heart that day and helped me find the words that proved successful in removing this book from the shelf.
"He said he would fight any effort to put the book back on shelves.
"Any effort to reinstate the book will be met with legal action and protests from the Christian community," Adams wrote in the e-mail.
The book, by Felice Newman, is a sex guide deemed suitable for all public libraries, according to the Library Journal, which the Bentonville library uses to decide what to place on its shelves.Suter said the library aims to have books and other materials to serve a diverse group of library users.