Censorship Battles in Public Libraries

Across the country libraries have seen an increase in book challenges, especially around race relations and LGBTQ-themed books. While these sorts of challenges have always been part of the landscape, during the past year they have intensified. The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom recently reported that challenges quadrupled in 2021. The office also keeps a list of the top ten most recently challenged books on its web site.

An example of how this struggle is happening is encapsulated in a recent story about the Citrus County Library System and a battle by activists to get a seat on its Advisory Board. The Tampa Bay Times reported on the story of the battle that started over a small Pride Month display.

The yearly LGBTQ Pride Month display in the Citrus County library went largely unnoticed until 2021.

But last year, the small array of LGBTQ-themed books surrounded by rainbow hearts and signs saying “love is love” became a point of contention that has expanded into a larger partisan battle, pushed by the fringes of the conservative movement, over censorship and children’s education.

Last month, the library’s advisory board was inundated with candidates trying to replace five of the nine sitting board members. It was the first time the board, which does not control the content on the library shelves, had seen such interest.

Read the full story on the Tampa Bay Times web site.

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