Libraries under siege over book banning

Photo courtesy of Tyler Mowery

All across Texas, library books are being pulled from the shelves for review. Katy Independent School District has already removed nine books from their shelves. At least 75 requests to ban books have been made by parents in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, according to NBC.

There are numerous reasons that people have requested specific books be under fire including parents accusing librarians of distributing pornography to children or are accusing librarians of trying to make children racist against white people. These are the reasons why most of the books being banned have to deal with racism and sexuality.

Parents may have a right to question the material their children have access to, but librarians have to think about all the students. Books about vegetarians have a place in the library even if a parent feeds their children meat.

The threat is felt by Sam Houston State University librarians as well.

“The community has a right to voice its opinions because the library is there for the community, but I think it needs to be with the recognition that the librarians are not just buying anything on a whim,” Newton Gresham Library Access Services Coordinator and Scholarly Communications Librarian Erin Owens said. “They don’t necessarily just have carte blanche to buy any book that they like regardless of whether it’s appropriate for the community. They’re always being guided by that collection development policy.”

The accusations have weighed heavy on many librarians as they are being accused of things such as distributing pornography, which are simply not true. Another group of people worth considering are the authors of these books because all the books in libraries have to be bought.

The thing that must be considered is that many books written for children, for example the likes of Dr. Seuss, would not have the same kind of commercial success without libraries.

The children who have these books taken away from them may miss their opportunity to learn about issues that impact their lives. Many lessons will not be taught or learned from these books.

“There’s always going to be materials that not everybody likes and they’re welcome to just leave those on the shelf and read something else,” Owens said.

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