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Left Bank Books removes J.K. Rowling's books from its shelves

Left Bank Books removes J.K. Rowling's books from its shelves

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ST. LOUIS — Left Bank Books, the Central West End mainstay known for its social activism, will no longer devote shelf space to "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling.

The decision, announced Sunday, is in response to a series of social media posts by Rowling regarding transgender people. The British author behind the phenomenally popular children's series about a boy wizard questioned in a tweet an article that referenced "people who menstruate."

Left Bank Books has been closed to customers since the pandemic hit in mid-March, but co-owner Kris Kleindienst said the staff decided that when the store reopened, it should not have Rowling's books on display.

"It's a time when there's so much hate in the world, and she's using her platform to endorse that," Kleindienst said. "Transgender people are one of the most vulnerable populations."

Rowling defended her tweet with a second one saying "I know and love trans people" but has also expressed concern about transgender people using public bathrooms.

Left Bank has sold thousands of Rowling's books since Harry Potter was introduced to the world in 1997. The store hosted a free block party, complete with themed snacks, costumes and children's activities, celebrating the series finale.

"It was one of the most magical memories I have of our 50 years" in business, Kleindienst said.

Her co-owner, Jarek Steele, identifies as transgender person and wrote in a statement that Rowling "has now tainted what for our family and our store was a beautiful experience."

The shop will still order books for customers who request them. The decision is not one of censorship, the statement said: "There are millions of books that aren't on our shelves. We curate. It's our job."

Since the "Harry Potter" series ended in 2007, Rowling has written adult mysteries under the name Robert Galbraith. Another children's book, "The Ickabog," is set to be released in November.

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