The Greater Victoria Public Library is reviewing some of its Dr. Seuss titles now that six of his books will no longer be published because they have been deemed to portray people in ways that are “hurtful and wrong.”
Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced on Tuesday that it worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review its titles, and decided last year to stop publishing and licensing six of them.
Libraries elsewhere are vetting their Dr. Seuss titles as well, concerned about racist and insensitive imagery.
Kelly Ridgway, spokesperson for the GVPL, said Thursday that an internal review has begun of the four Dr. Seuss titles cited by Dr. Seuss Enterprises that are in the library’s collection: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo and On Beyond Zebra!
In And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, an Asian person is portrayed wearing a conical hat, holding chopsticks and eating from a bowl. If I Ran the Zoo includes a drawing of two barefooted African men wearing what appear to be grass skirts with their hair tied above their heads.
Of the four, McElligot’s Pool and On Beyond Zebra have seen the greatest demand in recent years, Ridgway said. The other titles Dr. Seuss Enterprises has decided not to continue publishing are Scrambled Eggs Super and The Cat’s Quizzer. The GVPL does not have any copies of those books, although it does have other Dr. Seuss titles.
A senior librarian is carrying out the review to make sure the collection is “representative of our values and respects diversity and open access for all,” Ridgway said. A recommendation will go to members of the collection development committee. A final request for reconsideration of a title may go to the library’s board.
The Vancouver Island Regional Library system said the Dr. Seuss titles singled out by Dr. Seuss Enterprises will be pulled from its collection for review as they are returned from their current loans. At this point, no final decisions have been made, but our review process is underway,” said library spokesman David Carson.
— With files from the Associated Press