CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — The President of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce is concerned for tourism after a heated debate about a digital subscription to the New York Times for libraries in the county that has made national headlines.
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- BELOW: Most challenged literary works in Florida
But some local boat captains don't think it will affect their business.
In the county commissioners meeting on October 24, commissioners can be heard laughing about the New York Times, with Commissioner Scott Carnahan even calling the publication "fake news" and saying he didn't want them in the county.
Those comments have sparked a lot of debate online.
The library requested funding from commissioners for a digital subscription to the NY Times.
Commissioners didn't vote on the request but decided not to discuss it further during the meeting.
In the weeks since, county leaders say they've been contacted by thousands of people across the country.
"My staff spent a good part of yesterday responding to telephone calls, emails, Facebook posts," said Josh Wooten, President of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce.
Wooten is concerned the comments will give people a negative view of the county and impact tourism, especially with the county's popular manatee season starting next week.
"The last thing you want is some negativity brewing out there and this has caused things that I think aren't particularly helpful," Wooten explained.
But some manatee tour captains, like Gary Bartell Jr. with River Adventure Tours, aren't concerned, noting that no one has brought it up or canceled a tour.
"I think that they'll put all that was said to the side. We're hopeful that people won't think of politics when they're coming here to do something fun or go see the manatees," Bartell said.
That's something Wooten hopes for as well.
"We're a very welcoming community. We're not closed minded, we're very tolerant. A couple of our commissioners introduced politics into what was a very basic decision at their meeting," Wooten explained.
Physical copies of the New York Times are still available at Citrus County libraries. This item is expected to be discussed by commissioners again during their next meeting on November 19.
This also is the first time the library in Citrus County has requested funding for a digital newspaper subscription.
Often times when written works are challenged, they become even more popular.
- Challenged books are usually the most popular
- Several books have been challenged in the Bay area and Florida
- University of North Florida created a map of Challenged Books
That's the case for classic literature.
Which ones are the most challenged literary works in Florida?
An all-out ban doesn't last long in the United States because of the First Amendment.
Here are some book titles challenged in Tampa Bay:
-Hillsborough, Just Listen in 2007
-Pasco, The Perks of Being a Wallflower in 2016
-Polk, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1993
-Polk, Slaughterhouse Five in 1982
These last two classics are among some of the most challenged nationwide.
In Florida the titles most challenged, according to the American Library Association, are Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men and Beloved.
These titles are often very popular.
Every year the ALA posts a list of the most challenged books.
The lists have featured popular titles such as Harry Potter, Captain Underpants and usually the year's New York Times’ Best Seller.