A committee of parents and staff voted to keep the book "Just One Day" on Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan library shelves despite a recent parent request that the book be removed.
Parents Ben and Kandi Lovin wanted district officials to reconsider whether the book was appropriate after their 11-year-old daughter checked it out from the Rosemount Middle School Library.
"Just One Day" by Gayle Forman has "adult themes," the couple wrote, and includes vulgar language and sexual content that is "not appropriate for middle school, or we believe, even high school students."
At Thursday night's meeting, parent Ben Lovin read the passages the couple considered objectionable and restated their belief that the book wasn't suitable for secondary students. They called out references to nudity, teens drinking alcohol, swearing, and several sexual situations and comments.
"We decided to go through with [this process] because we think it's the right thing to do," said Kandi Lovin. "There's a lot of parents that are naive in this. ... We certainly were."
Dawn Lyons, secondary media specialist, explained why she believed the book was acceptable. The book has won awards and garnered positive reviews from professional journals, she said.
Lyons said she supported the parents' decision to restrict their own child from reading the book, but found it unacceptable that all students would be kept from checking it out .
"The real issue here is the freedom of choice of all library patrons," Lyons said.
A committee of 11 parents, teachers, media generalists and administrators then discussed the book's value, ultimately voting 7 to 4 to keep the book in circulation at middle and high school libraries.
The National Coalition Against Censorship, an association of 50 national nonprofits, issued a statement urging the district to retain the book.
Parent and committee member Margie Broman said there is a perception that school library books meet a certain standard.
"I feel that it was a little surprising that it's still allowed in our middle school libraries," she said.
Tony Taschner, spokesman for the district, said officials have been asked to reconsider a book's inclusion in school libraries only a handful of times in the last two decades. None of those books have ever been removed, he said.