AUSTIN (KXAN) — Should some books be banned? It’s a question that has some people saying “Yes,” while others say “No.”
“There are things I can never experience, but I can go to the library and check out a book, and I can walk in somebody else shoes,” said Former Llano County Librarian Suzette Baker.
Baker lost her job after she refused to remove books that some people claimed were “inappropriate”.
“You can’t deny someone access because you don’t believe in what it says,” Baker said.
In a special meeting in April, the Llano County Commissioners Court discussed whether to “continue or cease operations of the current physical Llano County Library System,” some claimed there were inappropriate books in the library that needed to be removed.
“These materials cannot be in the library. It has destroyed my family,” said one speaker at the meeting.
Several people speaking said they wanted some books removed.
“When you have sexually explicit material in an area where a 5-year-old can get a hold of it, that is wrong,” said Ervin Light back in April.
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) reported 695 attempts to censor library materials and services and documented challenges to 1,915 unique titles. The number of unique titles challenged has increased by 20 percent from the same reporting period in 2022, the year in which the highest number of book challenges occurred since ALA began compiling this data more than 20 years ago.
“We are ranked number two in the country for the number of books and titles that have been challenged,” said Shirley Robinson with the Texas Library Association.
The association said parents have to be involved in the books their children pick up to read.
“It is vitally important for parents to get involved in the choices that their child is reading and to make sure the books they are bringing home reflect their own family values, but you don’t have that right to make that choice for another family’s child,” said Robinson.
This weekend, the Texas Book Festival kicks off in Austin. One panel discussion titled “Threats to Freedom of Expression” will feature two authors who have had their books banned.
“The right to read, write and think freely is the cornerstone of our democracy, so our organization will always champion that right,” said Hannah Gabel, literary director for the Texas Book Festival.
“Books help inform young children, as well as adults and provide them with the language they need to describe experiences that they have been through.”
For the full report on book challenges, click here.