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Local public libraries weigh in on questionable Dr. Seuss books as publishing comes to a halt

Local News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Six Dr. Seuss books are under review at the Appleton Public Library for possible racist and insensitive imagery.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises says they will stop publishing the six books because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

Because of the halt in publishing, sellers are seeing the prices in the six books rise to extreme prices.

But what does that mean for someone who wants to rent one of the books at a public library?

The Appleton Public Library says they will review the questionable books for placement in their collection.

The library emphasizes they are committed to offering a wide range of materials for children and families that support diversity, anti-racism, and inclusion and the collection will strive to show children and families books that both reflect themselves and that open doors to new experiences.

However, library staff want to point out that they are part of a larger system.

Each library in the Fox Valley may have different processes for review, so they cannot speak for other libraries and what their decisions may be.

In Brown County, the library system says they think the Foundation is being proactive in preserving Seuss’ legacy by acknowledging the books are no longer appropriate and are choosing to not remove them from his creations like they never existed. 

The Brown County system also says they will keep them in circulation because of their popularity, but would hope that the racial/culturally insensitive images would be a talking point for families.

The Oshkosh Public Library Director says the library will also not remove the books from its shelves because they strive to provide open access to information and ideas.

The six books include:

  • “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”
  • “If I Ran the Zoo”
  • “McElligot’s Pool”
  • “On Beyond Zebra!”
  • “Scrambled Eggs Super!”
  • “The Cat’s Quizzer.”

One of the most beloved books, “The Cat in the Hat,” has received criticism as well, but will continue to be published for now.

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