The Marshall, Missouri Democrat-News is reporting that two graphic novels, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Blankets by Craig Thompson will not be available to patrons of the Marshall Public Library while the Marshall Public Library board fashions a new policy for the selection of books for the library's collection.  A committee was formed to draft the new policy and plans, in the words of library board president Anita Wright, 'to research what other libraries throughout the state have done in this arena.'


Library Director Amy Crump indicated support for the decision to draft a new policy -- and she and her staff will be on the committee along with six board members.  Louise Mills, who originally brought the two graphic novels, which she considered 'pornographic,' to the attention of the library board, told the Democrat-News, 'The policy is definitely needed because currently anything can be brought in or taken out by Amy.' 


Don Riley, who went on record in favor of keeping the books in circulation at an earlier public meeting, said, 'I understand why (the books will remain unavailable until the new policy is decided). I don't necessarily agree with it, but I understand it.'


The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund joined with the National Coalition Against Censorship to send a letter to the Marshall, Missouri Public Library Board urging the board to make both Blankets and Fun Home available to the public once again, pointing out the awards that these two highly regarded graphic novels have won.


Depending on the nature of the acquisitions policy that the board agrees on, and the final disposition of what happens to Blankets and Fun Home, this event could have a chilling effect on the growing sales of graphic novels into the library market, at least in small towns.  In recent years many independent retailers have been able to sell graphic novels to local libraries as interest in the category has grown considerably among librarians.  And sales to libraries through wholesalers have given graphic novel publishers a new sales channel and helped to expose new readers to the category.