In a suspenseful sequel to last month’s judicial victory, residents of Llano County can breathe another sigh of relief that their library will remain open.
During a contentious public meeting on Thursday, county commissioners considered closing the county’s library system following a federal judge’s ruling that several books that had previously been banned from the library be returned to shelves. The proposed closing of the library was a dramatic attempt to circumvent the judge’s ruling in order to keep books some residents found objectionable inaccessible. Many of the books focus on LGBTQ+ or racial issues, but some were also children’s books, including In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak and I Need a New Butt! by Dawn McMillan.
The county has since appealed the judge’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and the Freedom to Read Foundation are supporting the patrons and staff of the Llano County Library System fighting the book bans as they continue to challenge the bans.
In a statement, the Office of the Llano County Judge claimed the 17 books were simply being “weeded,” a collection maintenance process used by libraries to consider books for removal from a library’s collection based on accuracy, currency, relevancy, and usage in order to make room for new materials.
“This lawsuit was filed by seven individuals over our librarian’s decision to ‘weed’ 17 books that weren’t being checked out enough to warrant remaining on the shelves,” the statement read. “Our librarians weed books all the time, and almost every public library must continually weed books that aren’t being checked out to make room for new books given our limited shelf space.”
However, several of the books were recent titles, as noted by local FReadom advocates.
The decision to keep the Llano’s libraries open is another win for county residents who deserve access to a public library and books that represent their lives as well as the viewpoints of others.
It also demonstrates the power of community organizing in the fight against censorship.
Featured Photo: Llano County Public Library via Carlos Lowry/Flickr.