The Chicago Public Library will temporarily remove six Dr. Seuss books from its shelves as it assesses their long-term future, officials said.
A spokesman for the library told the Chicago Tribune Monday that the half-dozen children’s classics scrapped last week due to their alleged racism are already checked out, but won’t be offered up for loan once additional holds for the books are honored.
“It is important to recognize that what society understands to be relevant and/or common knowledge changes over time, and so too does the Library and the needs of the communities it serves,” library spokesman Patrick Malloy told the newspaper in a statement.
Malloy said staffers urge patrons of all ages to “engage critically” with library materials, but those that “become dated or that foster inaccurate, culturally harmful stereotypes” are pulled to make some for more current and “comprehensive” works.
The six scrapped Dr. Seuss books include “If I Ran the Zoo,” “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.’’
“CPL is constantly reviewing our collections to ensure that the materials we circulate are responsive to the communities we serve,” Malloy’s statement read. “Staff will continue to evaluate all Library resources and consider bias, prejudice, and racism when making decisions about our programming, services and recommendations, in addition to our collections.”
The announcement comes after the company that oversees Dr. Seuss’ works said last week that the classic children’s books would be yanked from publication because they portray “people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
The New York Public Library, meanwhile, has said it will keep the books on its shelves until they’re no longer in “acceptable condition.”
The Brooklyn Public Library echoed that take, saying the books will remain in circulation, while officials at the Queens Public Library said last week they’re considering whether to move the titles to its reference section while noting it stands “firmly against censorship.”
The Denver Public Library has also said it won’t yank the six books by Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991 and whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel.
One of Dr. Seuss’ stepdaughters, meanwhile, has told The Post she agrees with the books being pulled for now, but hopes they eventually go back into print.
“There wasn’t a racist bone in his body,” Lark Grey Dimond-Cates said last week.
Still, Dimond-Cates said she believed the move was a “wise decision.”
“I think this is a world that right now is in pain, and we’ve all got to be very gentle and thoughtful and kind with each other,” she said.