Library books held captive for 'content'

May 9, 2010 at 5:29 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., May 9 (UPI) -- A Florida mother who refused to return four Gossip Girl-inspired library books because of their content returned them after almost 2 years, officials say.

Tina Harden of Longwood, Fla., said she held the books since 2008, keeping them off of library shelves because she found them too racy for teens and because she wanted people made aware of her point of view through media attention, The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported Friday.

"There was a certain amount of good that could come from me holding the books to make a statement, and I felt like that was achieved," said Harden, who has three teenagers. "I feel like I had done my part to help focus attention on this."

It worked for Harden, who was deluged with requests for interviews.

An unofficial poll yielded 2,500 responses of which 81 percent said Harden should return the books.

Most criticized Harden for censuring what other people's children should read and pointed out books in the public library in Seminole County and elsewhere are public property.

Harden said she hadn't seen the comments and wasn't influenced by them, the Sentinel said.

Harden has not paid the $85 in fines she owes, and said she is hoping the library will waive the fines.

"It's not that I lost the books or I didn't feel like turning them in," she said. "I want us to work together. Hopefully they have the same goals as I do."

The library system could not forgive the fines, Seminole County library services manager Jane Peterson said, but she was glad the books had been returned.

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