ONE BOOK, TWO BOOK
Nicole Shih Worcester Telegram & Gazette | USA TODAY NETWORK
Dr. Seuss books that are now the subject of debate over claimed racist depictions remain on the shelves of the Worcester Public Library and other local libraries.
But WPL Executive Director Jason Homer said he backs the decision by Dr. Seuss Enterprises to cease publication of six Dr. Seuss books that portray people in ways that are today considered hurtful, including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book, and “If I Ran the Zoo.”
The books have been criticized for how they depict Asian and Black people.
“The Worcester Public Library strives to be a welcoming destination and the leading provider of resources to inform, enlighten and enrich our diverse community,” he said. “In order to meet that vision, we must challenge our collective history and make sure we address when deeply loved literature proves hurtful and problematic with the lens of history, diversity and equality.”
The Dr. Seuss books under criticism will remain within the collection but will not be used in any public programming, Homer said.
In Framingham, librarians will soon assess the books, five of which are part of the collection, and decide if they should remain in circulation, said Lena Kilburn, Framingham director of libraries.
“Our librarians are constantly assessing our collections based on a number of factors,” Kilburn said.
The library has not received any complaints about the books, Kilburn said.
“Thankfully, Dr. Seuss has many widely beloved books which the community can continue to enjoy,” Kilburn said.
See DR. SEUSS, Page 4A
Librarians Iris Delgado, left, and Rezarta Reso hold some of the controversial Dr. Seuss books at the Worcester Public Library Thursday. RICK CINCLAIR/TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
Continued from Page 3A
At the Sutton Public Library, where the six Dr. Seuss books in question are not the most popular in the collection, there will be no changes on the shelves, said Betsy Perry, director of Sutton Public Library. The situation is viewed as a teaching moment, she said.
“The imagery depicted in these books provides caregivers opportunities for discussion with their children about the historical context of the time when these books were created,” she said.
The six books that have come under criticism are “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” (1937), “McElligot’s Pool” (1947), “If I Ran the Zoo” (1950), “Scrambled Eggs Super!” (1953), “On Beyond Zebra!” (1955) and “The Cat’s Quizzer” (1976). The decision to cease publication and licensing of the books was made by a series of reviews from a panel of experts, including educators, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced this week.
“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” said the company, which controls the catalog of the late author, a Springfield native.
Priya Rathnam, the director of Shrewsbury Public Library, said no Dr. Seuss books will be pulled from shelves. It is up to parents if they want their children to read the titles, she said.