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Fishers library board president cites 'error' in removing John Green's 'The Fault in Our Stars' from teen section

"This book should be moved back to the Teen section immediately," Hamilton East Public Library Board President Laura Alerding said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

FISHERS, Ind. — "The Fault in Our Stars" may be headed back to the "young adult" section of a Fishers library after its removal sparked controversy.

Laura Alerding, board president of the Hamilton East Public Library, shared the following statement with 13News Sunday afternoon:

"Upon reviewing the page(s) of 'The Fault in Our Stars' book that were the basis of the Director’s and review staff’s reason to move the book out of the Teen section,  I believe there was an error in implementing the Collection Development Policy and that this book should be moved back to the Teen section immediately.  The Board of Trustees will discuss further what went wrong with the review process at the next public board meeting."

In a post on social media, Indiana author John Green responded to the news:

"Cool. What about my other books and hundreds of other YA titles? Award-winning classics of YA lit by everyone from Nic Stone to Judy Blume continue to be wrong shelved by a ridiculous policy that embarrasses Central Indiana. Change the policy not just for TFIOS, but for all."

Green shared his frustration Aug. 9 over the move of his book to the "general" section at the library.

"The Fault in Our Stars has been removed from the YA section in the suburbs of Indianapolis and is now considered a 'book for adults.' This is ludicrous. It is about teenagers and I wrote it for teenagers. Teenagers are not harmed by reading TFIOS. This is such an embarrassment to the city of Fishers," Green posted.

Green went on to post: "I only have a small voice in these decisions, of course, but you won't catch me alive or dead in Fishers, Indiana until these ridiculous policies are revoked."

Later that day, Green posted a letter to the library board members. Green pointed out his success as an author and that his books are written for young adults. He also urged the board to trust the librarians and teachers in the community, who agree his and other popular young adult books should be shelved in the young adults section. 

"It's political theater of the lowest and most embarrassing order, and it's an awful way to have Fishers and Noblesville make national news," Green wrote. 

Clothing company Raygun joined the movement, with Green's approval, to sell T-shirts. 

According to the company's website, a portion of sales will support the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library.

Green's followers also responded to the move.

"This is disgraceful. This is the book that started my daughter’s love for reading. She wouldn’t have the confidence in herself today had it not been for your book. What a disservice to these kids. Thank you for your work," posted Laura Burkhardt.

"This is ludicrous. Both of my teens, and then I, read this incredibly moving book. It truly helped them when I began chemo having read a story about love and potentially losing a loved one," posted Tashmia Owen FRSA.

"Total embarrassment," posted fien' X.

"It’s horrifying and embarrassing. I’m so glad my kids have graduated, but I feel for all those kids still going through school. I saw the list and can’t imagine what’s left to read. TFIOS is such a wonderful book," posted Dawn.

13News has previously reported on the library removing a significant number of books from the young adult and teen sections.

RELATED: Indy-based 'The Fault in Our Stars' filmed in Pittsburgh

The library’s deputy director John Helling told 13News in May that staff members had been going through books in the “Teen Zone” section of their library branches and checking for material that, according to a new policy passed by the library board, is "not appropriate" for books in the teen section of the library.

According to Helling, library staff will review a little more than 11,000 books in the teen section. According to board documents from a July 19 meeting, 1,385 books had been moved from the "High School" collection to the adult section. That number represents just under 75% of the physical books reviewed, being moved out of the Young Adults section. They also noted about 74.4% of the books still needed reviewed.

According to the new policy, passed by the seven-member library board, the books are being checked for material or pictures that are not age-appropriate. 

Under the new policy, the library board has decided that means books that contain nudity, alcohol or drug use, repeated profanity, depictions of violence or incitement to violence and any kind of sexual content in them.

Young adults can still check them out, they just have to go looking for them in the adult section.

RELATED: Why an Indiana library is pulling books from its shelves

Alerding told 13News in a text message the cost to review the books would be around $114,000.

According to an estimate from minutes of the library board’s March meeting, the cost is estimated at closer to $300,000. Helling said that number could go up or down.

On Aug. 11, 13News received the following statement from the library:

Over the past several months, the Hamilton East Public Library Board of Trustees has taken great strides to protect our most vulnerable patrons, our children, from content that was not age appropriate. While parents or guardians have the responsibility to determine what is appropriate for their own children, our Collection Development Policy ensures that families are no longer confronted with age-inappropriate content in the children’s section. Due to the events of this week, the Board will lead a discussion regarding the book review process and the operational plan to ensure we have the best outcome in the days ahead.

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