Texas residents sue county officials for removing books from public libraries : NPR


A bunch of library patrons in Llano County, Texas, are suing the county, alleging censorship and First Modification violations.

Crispin la valiente/Getty Photographs

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Crispin la valiente/Getty Photographs

A bunch of library patrons in Llano County, Texas, are suing the county, alleging censorship and First Modification violations.

Crispin la valiente/Getty Photographs

A bunch of Texas residents who’re “card-carrying members” of their native library system are suing officers within the county the place they stay, claiming officers engaged in censorship in violation of the First Modification after they banned a slew of books the officers deemed inappropriate.

The library patrons filed the federal lawsuit towards officers in Llano County, which is positioned northwest of Austin, naming the county decide, county commissioners and library officers as defendants.

The group says that the county authorities’s acknowledged objective of eradicating “pornographic” materials from public libraries was truly a marketing campaign of political and spiritual censorship.

“Although Plaintiffs differ of their ages, professions, and particular person spiritual and political views, they’re fiercely united of their love for studying public library books and of their perception that the federal government can’t dictate which books they’ll and can’t learn,” the lawsuit reads.

Jennifer Buchanan, Llano County courtroom coordinator, mentioned the county wouldn’t touch upon the pending lawsuit.

Efforts amongst Republican leaders to ban sure books have ramped up throughout the nation, with a specific concentrate on titles with themes about race and LGBTQ points. The American Library Affiliation mentioned it tracked an unprecedented four-fold increase in efforts to ban books final 12 months.

Among the many books faraway from the Llano County library system, in keeping with the lawsuit, had been Maurice Sendak’s youngsters’s guide Within the Night time Kitchen, through which one character seems nude in a single scene, and Robie H. Harris’s It is Completely Regular: Altering Our bodies, Rising Up, Intercourse, and Sexual Well being.

Different widespread nonfiction books had been additionally faraway from circulation, together with Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, for which Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson earned a slew of awards.

The lawsuit alleges officers banned the books for political causes

The group of residents says county officers claimed they had been eliminating books to guard youngsters from graphic sexual content material. However the group says that not one of the eliminated books had been pornographic and officers as a substitute focused books that conflicted with their political and spiritual views.

County officers additionally wished to ban two books from OverDrive, a digital catalog that gave library patrons entry to greater than 17,000 e-books and audiobooks that the plaintiffs say was steadily utilized by older residents and residents with bodily disabilities, the go well with says.

As a result of they could not management the titles on OverDrive, the Llano County Commissioners as a substitute voted to suspend the usage of OverDrive altogether in December, the go well with says, though it has a mechanism for parental controls.

The plaintiffs additionally criticized how county officers reshaped the library’s board.

In January, commissioners dissolved the prevailing library advisory board and reconstituted it to offer the commissioners extra energy over appointments to the board, according to DailyTrib.com. The brand new board voted to make its conferences personal, which the group of residents mentioned violated their 14th Modification proper to due course of.


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