This is censorship in a league of its own.

A Kentucky librarian did not like the images in the graphic novel, “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume IV: The Black Dossier” so she checked out the book again and again and again. For months.

Sharon Cook, an employee of Jessamine County Public Library, first challenged the book. This is going through the proper channels. The American Library Association (ALA) reports that there were 348 book challenges in 2010. The challenge required a review committee, including Cook, to read the book. Cook said, “People prayed over me while I was reading it because I did not want those images in my head.”

The challenge failed. That’s when Cook took matters into her own hands. And she got away with it until someone else, an 11-year-old girl, requested the book. Cook turned to her colleagues, and a fellow librarian, Beth Boisvert, decided to take the book off hold, thus denying the rights of a library patron and continuing Cook’s campaign to keep the book out of circulation.

Cook and Boisvert were fired. As they should be. Librarians are supposed to follow the ALA Code of Ethics, which states: “We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representations of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.”

Under the guise of protecting children, Cook committed a massive abuse of power. Isn’t that why we protect freedom of expression — so that we can protect ourselves from abuses of power? Without access to ideas, all kinds of ideas, we are powerless. A free society must have access to information to remain free.

This is not about saving children from unpopular ideas or lurid images. This is about imposing one person’s beliefs on an entire community. And that is about power and control. Control of information is rule number one in the despot’s guide to tyranny. If you want to truly protect children, give them the resources to protect themselves.

Book of Mercy, a story about a woman who faces her greatest fear to save a town’s books, is available in paperback and on Kindle. Read more about Book of Mercy or check out an excerpt.