Posted: August 30, 2022
On Thursday, September 1, the Austin City Council is poised take a stand opposing book banning and library censorship. At this week’s council meeting, they will decide whether to take action to support “Freedom to Read.”
You can see the agenda item here: https://www.austintexas.gov/department/city-council/2022/20220901-reg.htm#086
Across the country and in the state of Texas, libraries are confronting aggressive challenges to materials in their collections. School libraries have been the primary target of these incidents. While public libraries are a lesser target, these challenges are occurring there too.
A list of 850 books, released by Texas State Representative Matt Krause, has fueled much of the book challenge activity in Texas. Although public complaints often cite pornography as the justification for challenge, most of the challenges revolve around issues of race and racism, sex education, and LGBTQ topics.
It’s a core mission of the public library to provide quality information from a diversity of viewpoints, especially on these kinds of topics. Moreover, book bans and undue challenges are attacks on the open access and free inquiry that are essential to our democracy.
The Freedom to Read is a constitutional right that we should act to protect, in the event that such challenges do occur at the Austin Public Library.
The Austin City Council can take a stand to support libraries and oppose book banning by voting to support “Freedom to Read.” I hope they will do that on Thursday.
photo credit: Jonathan Cutrer