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Reading event in response to NLB book withdrawal draws a crowd

A reading event organised by two mothers who disapproved of the NLB's move to remove three children's books was held on Sunday. Meanwhile, more than 25,000 signatures have been garnered for an online letter supporting NLB's decision.

SINGAPORE: A reading event organised by two mothers who disapproved of the National Library Board's (NLB) move to remove three children's books was held at the National Library's atrium on Sunday afternoon (July 13).

Meanwhile, more than 25,000 signatures have been garnered for an online letter supporting the NLB's decision to withdraw the books for not being "pro-family".

The call for signatures ends at midnight and the organisers said they will be sending the letter to the authorities as their way of thanking the NLB for "upholding its role".

When Channel NewsAsia was at the library for the reading event at about 3pm, there were an estimated 200-odd people gathered. Organisers claim that by 4pm, 400 had stopped by.

Copies of "And Tango Makes Three" and "Who's In My Family" were available for loan at the event, which was organised by netizens following NLB's decision to withdraw the books.

The organisers said they had obtained a police permit as well as the NLB's permission to use the atrium.

They also maintained that they simply wanted to make "a peaceful statement" about how much they and their children loved to read.

One of those who attended the event, Tan Boon Gim, a father of two, said: "I was brought up in a family that respects books in every way possible.

"So when I heard that the library was going to destroy books that were perfectly circulable, I was very concerned and I thought I would like to involve my children to understand why they shouldn't do that to books.

“I have actually asked my son before coming to this event and I asked him what he thinks a family is, and his answer to me was captured in one word. Basically he said ‘love’.”

Another participant, Adelia Lin, a mother of one, said: "(I attended the event) because it is a reading event and we love books, and we really want to be here to support the fact that we should have a whole range of books available at the library, and not just those that subscribe to a certain point of view."

A panel discussion at the National Library on Sunday was cancelled after a group of writers decided to boycott it over the NLB's decision to remove the children's titles. 

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