A Texas County Is Considering Closing Its Library System After Being Ordered To Put Outlawed Books Back On The Shelf

A small county in Texas is reportedly thinking about closing all of its public libraries after a federal judge ordered it to put outlawed books back on the shelves.

The decision of whether to “continue or cease operations of the current physical Llano County library system pending further guidance from the Federal Courts” will be discussed at a meeting of the Llano County Commissioners Court on Thursday.

After ordering the Llano County Library System, which has three branches, to put 12 children’s books back on the shelves that had been taken down, many of which were due to their LGBTQ and racial themes, federal judge Robert Pitman called the meeting on April 1.

“Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson, “They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, and “Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen” by Jazz Jennings were among the books that were ordered to be put back on the shelf.

In April 2022, seven county residents filed a lawsuit alleging that their First and 14th Amendment rights had been infringed when books that Republican lawmakers and other members of the community felt offensive were either removed from public libraries or access was restricted.

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The lawsuit claims that the county commissioners removed the library board members in 2021 and replaced them with a new board that wanted a study of the content of all of the library’s books. As a result, a number of books were taken out of its catalog and access was denied to an online book service that featured some of the contested publications.

The defendants claimed the books were taken out as part of routine “weeding” procedures carried out in accordance with the library’s current rules.

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