Book complaints to Portland Public Library

William Middleton filed this request with the Portland Public Library of Portland, ME.


From: William Middleton

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Maine Freedom of Access Act, I hereby request the following records:

I would like to request information on all user complaints about book titles held in the collections of Portland Public Library, including both the main library and all branches, from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2020. I would like to know: 1) the title of the book, 2) the specifics of the complaint, and the 3) the Library's response to the complaint.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by 1 M.R.S.A. ยง 408(6). The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.


William Middleton

From: Portland Public Library

Dear William Middleton,

We received your letter of March 9 requesting information "on all user complaints about book titles." I can report that we have not had any book complaints in the period you specified, January 1m 2015 through December 31, 2020. We did have one complaint about a DVD that we believe was prior to 2015.

In that situation, the title was Jean Genet's Un chant d'amour. The patron objected to it because of its explicit homosexual details.
The Library created an ad hoc committee of the Executive Director, the Librarian with responsibility for that content area, the Adult Services Director, and the DVD selector. The committee concluded that the film was within the guidelines of the Library's collection policy and sent a letter to the patron. The patron did not pursue it further.

Sarah Campbell, MLIS | Executive Director<>|<>
5 Monument Square | Portland, ME 04101
(207) 771-2756 or (207) 871-1700, ext. 755
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers

From: William Middleton


Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

William Middleton