AUSTIN (KXAN) — On March 9, Suzette Baker was fired as head librarian at the Kingsland Branch Library in Llano County.
“This is the final warning and termination,” Baker said, as she pointed out why she was removed from her position. “For creating a disturbance, insubordination, violation of policies and failure to follow instructions.”
Baker said she was given the warning to remove books by her boss, but she did not comply.
“The books in my library in Kingsland were not taken off the shelves, we did not move them, I told my boss that was censorship,” Baker said.
According to Baker, a group of people had reached out to the library system about books that they said were “inappropriate” or “pornographic,” and they wanted them removed, but she disagreed. She claims one of the books was about life as a transgender teen.
“It is her biography of her life growing up as a transgendered teenager and obviously this group thought that was too much for their children to read,” Baker said. “Which no one is forcing their kids to read anything.”
“I always thought she was extremely professional, very knowledgeable, has a strong character, and did her job well to the best of my knowledge,” said Leila Green Little, a patron of the Llano County libraries.
Little said the library system has seen recent changes and there has been no transparency. She said the library advisory board meetings are now closed to the public, and said there was also a change to the library system’s online reading services which moved from OverDrive to Bibliotheca.
“I have now counted 12 books that I know have been removed from Llano County Library, and I can’t get clarification from the library system on why,” Little said.
According to the Texas Tribune, the library staff conducted a thorough review of every children’s book in the library to assess their content.
“There are very clear rules that should be followed with regards to censorship to books in the public library, those rules were not followed,” Little said.
“It may not be my book, it may not be your book, but it could be someone else’s book and we have no right to take that book away from them,” Baker said.
KXAN reached out to multiple Llano County officials looking for answers over the last week, but we haven’t heard back.
The Llano County HR department told KXAN it had no comment about the situation.