An Adelaide library will no longer supply a handful of women’s magazines for free reading after it declared they were promoting a “toxic and negative narrative”.
The City of Burnside Council, in the east of Adelaide, posted a sign to the magazine section of Burnside Library to explain why some magazines were no longer available, the Adelaide Advertiser reports.
“The City of Burnside places our community’s mental health at the forefront, as well as setting a standard of respectful behaviours in our community,” said the notice, written by the council’s group manager of community connections, Fairlie Taylor.
“We have therefore removed magazines which promote a toxic and negative narrative. Thank you for standing with us.”
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The council had removed Woman’s Day, New Idea and Who from the library shelves.
The laminated sign had been sitting on the shelf of the library for a number of weeks until Thursday, when the Adelaide Advertiser began making inquiries.
Magazines serve a need the ‘community craves’
The library is now facing criticism, with some regular attendees claiming the decision to remove the magazines was a form of censorship.
Speaking to the Adelaide Advertiser, one elderly woman said it was “unbelievable” the magazines were banned.
“It’s like a communist country where they tell you what to read and what to do,” the 87-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, said.
“It’s unbelievable that something like this is possible in a free country with freedom of expression.”
Another library regular, a 74-year-old man, said the magazines provided something the community “craves”.
“I spoke to a staff member and asked her to define ‘toxic’,” he said.
“I suggested it meant ‘poisonous’ which in my opinion these three magazines certainly aren’t.
“(The magazines) are probably not the world’s most erudite journalism, they serve an important role in providing gossip and celebrity news which a lot of the community craves.
“There should be room for both intellectual and popular magazines in a public library.”
Library users raised questions about what could be next on the library’s potential banning list.
“What about the R-rated DVDs available for loan in the library?” the 74-year-old man asked.
“And, of course, throughout the shelves, there are many books the library would define as ‘toxic’ according to their insular standards.”
Burnside Library is celebrating its 60th birthday today, with the centre’s Facebook page thanking the community for its support.
Burnside Library has been contacted for comment.