A recent haul of Value Village DVDs included I, Tonya (2017), a relatively recent film that, for some reason, was WITHDRAWN from the Burnaby Public Library. What accounts for a DVD, CD or book to be withdrawn from a public library? In the case of I, Tonya, it couldn't be the condition of the DVD, as it played perfectly.
Was it the content, then? You would think that the story of a poor kid from Portland, Oregon, who endured a lifetime of mental and physical abuse to achieve her dream as a figure skater, would be supported by Burnaby's librarians. Was the depiction of abuse in the context of a mockumentary too much for some borrowers, and one or more of them complained? If so, is there a mechanism for such complaints, or is the offending material simply (and quietly) withdrawn?
Did I read somewhere that the placement of a comedic moment too close to a tragic moment scored poorly in test viewings? I never know what I know anymore, whether I lived it or dreamed it or read it on social media. One thing I do know is that the Tonya Harding story is complicated and, as with many stories where gender, class and race intersect, goes to the heart of the American experience.
I cannot say enough about I, Tonya. And yet I've said nothing, really. But if the availability of books, music, film and television is being overtaken by the interweb, might we expect libraries to function as places where controversial or "withdrawn" materials can be discussed in open forums? Some might see Value Village as the perfect place for anything to do with Tonya Harding, and leave it at that. I'm just glad to have seen it.