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Gender-critical books ‘treated like Mein Kampf’ by public library

Prof Kathleen Stock
A book by Prof Kathleen Stock was one of those hidden from public view at the library - Clara Molden for The Telegraph

Gender-critical books have been treated like Mein Kampf by a public library, it can be revealed.

Works by authors including Helen Joyce and Prof Kathleen Stock were hidden from view by a library service of the Labour-run Calderdale council, and are now barred from being promoted in displays in order to protect the public from offence.

The only other book similarly censored by the library service by being hidden was Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, The Telegraph can reveal.

Authors are furious at the revelation that their gender-critical work, which critiques the belief that gender self-identification takes precedence over biological sex, has been handled in the same way as the 1925 manifesto of the future Nazi dictator.

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The Telegraph previously revealed that six books discussing the dangers of puberty blockers and gender reassignment surgery were hidden from public view by Calderdale librarians.

Now council documents shown to The Telegraph indicate that staff had not previously taken such direct measures to conceal books, except on one occasion when “a copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf was moved to our stores following complaints from some customers some years ago”.

Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto contains his outline for a state based on racial hierarchy which is free of the Jewish people.

Helen Joyce
Helen Joyce's book Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality will not be 'promoted' by Calderdale librarians - Jeff Gilbert

Ms Joyce, the author of one of the six gender-critical books, told The Telegraph: “I was disgusted, but not surprised, to discover that the only previous example Calderdale Libraries could give of hiding away a ‘toxic’ book concerned Hitler’s manifesto, Mein Kampf.

“Its senior staff have apparently surrendered to the demands of trans ideologues to such an extent that when a crybully threw a strop about a top ten bestseller on the subject of women’s, children’s and gay people’s human rights, they agreed to treat that book as if it was Nazi propaganda.”

While Calderdale council officers have recommended that the six gender-critical books, by authors including Abigail Shrier, are reinstated on publicly visible bookshelves, they also advised that the books should not be “promoted” as part of special display.

This is in stark contrast to standard practice for many books on LGBT issues, which are typically placed in special display within public libraries during Pride month.

Calderdale council officers cited best-practice advice that the books should not be promoted, advice which comes from the group Book 28, an LGBT organisation which has pushed councils to take steps to prevent LGBT people seeing “offensive” and “transphobic” gender-critical books in their libraries .

It was understood the local chapter of the Women’s Rights Network will contest a campaign against gender-critical titles “singled out” because of concerns they could be found to be offensive.

The controversy began with an internal HR grievance lodged in January 2023 about gender-critical books on display in council libraries .

Calderdale’s library agreed to remove six gender-critical books from public view.

After The Telegraph revealed that these books had been hidden, Calderdale library staff lodged a complaint against their own employer and demanded the books be reinstated on library shelves.

Calderdale council undertook a review of its policies following the outcry against censorship, while stating it had to balance these concerns against what it termed some people’s “acute vulnerability”.

This week Ian Day, the council’s director for public service, said that while the books are likely “to cause offence to some people”, the titles do not reach “the threshold required to interfere with legal rights such as the right of freedom of expression”.

He recommended that the council decide to reinstate books, with the proviso that they are not promoted.

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