Texas County Library Patron Plaintiffs Win Court Victory | Censorship News

The U.S. Court of Appeals issued a partial victory for plaintiffs in the Llano County, TX, case over removing books from the library; parents have filed a federal lawsuit against the Florida Board of Education; and a high school graduate tries to give The Handmaid's Tale to her superintendent at graduation.

U.S. Appeals Court Says Texas County Must Return Eight of 17 Books Removed from Library | AP
Eight books dealing with subjects including racism and transgender issues must be returned to shelves of a library in Llano County, TX, which had removed them in an ongoing book banning controversy, a divided panel of three federal appeals court judges ruled Thursday.

It was a partial victory for seven library patrons who sued numerous officials with the Llano County library system and the county government after 17 books were removed. In Thursday’s opinion from a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, one judge voted to uphold a lower court order that the books should be returned. Another largely agreed but said nine of the books could stay off the shelves as the appeal plays out. The main opinion was by Judge Jacques Wiener, nominated to the court by former President George H. W. Bush. Wiener said the books were clearly removed at the behest of county officials who disagreed with the books’ messages.

“But a book may not be removed for the sole—or a substantial—reason that the decisionmaker does not wish patrons to be able to access the book’s viewpoint or message,” Wiener wrote.

Parents Sue Florida Board of Education Over Book Ban Policy | Florida Phoenix
Three parents of children attending Florida public schools filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Florida Board of Education on Thursday, claiming that a 2023 education law discriminates against parents who oppose book bans and censorship. The legislation in question (HB 1069) requires local school boards to adopt policies regarding objections by parents to the use of specific material, but these parents contend that the law “only provides a mechanism for a parent to object to the affirmative use of material; it does not provide a mechanism for a parent to object to the lack of use or discontinued use of material.”

The Handmaid's Tale Was Removed from an Idaho School Library. This Teen Handed a Copy to the Superintendent At Graduation | People
Annabelle Jenkins protested the removal of the graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel earlier in the school year by placing the book at the superintendent's feet when he wouldn't accept it from her.

Tennessee Textbook Commission Hires First Staff to Prepare for School Library Book Appeals | Chattanooga Times Free Press
Tennessee's all-volunteer textbook commission is gearing up to consider new challenges to school library books after state lawmakers broadened the definition of what materials are prohibited. For the first time, the commission will have its own full-time staff to support its growing workload, led by a recently retired school librarian who formerly served on the commission.

Former Pennsylvania School District Librarian, 'Fighter' for Intellectual Freedom, Wins National AASL Award | Lancaster Online
Cathi Fuhrman, a former librarian from the Hempfield School District in Landisville, PA, helped lead opposition to more restrictive library book policies in the district and is the recipient of the 2024 American Association of School Librarians’ Intellectual Freedom Award. 

Librarian Who Quit Job Rather than Enforce Restrictive Library Policy Wins ALA Intellectual Freedom Award | LancasterOnline
Matthew Good, who quit his job as a librarian in the Donegal School District in Mount Joy, PA, in 2022 after being told to enforce a policy limiting students’ access to library books, was awarded the 2024 John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award by Intellectual Freedom Round Table of the American Library Association. 

Virginia School Board Chair's First Book Challenge Denied by Two High Schools | The Winchester Star
A book challenge by Frederick County (VA) School Board chairman has been reviewed by committees at Millbrook and James Wood high schools, and Crank by Ellen Hopkins will remain on the shelves. A third high school will also review the challenge.

Two Petitions Look to Overturn Controversial Changes at California Libraries | NBC4
A pair of petitions that would overturn two recent controversial decisions surrounding public libraries by Huntington Beach, CA, are currently circulating. Backers of the petitions hope to gather 40,000 signatures by October as part of the fight against the city in what they believe are tactics to censor what books end up on library shelves.

Florida County School Board Meeting Results in Removal of 19 Books from School Libraries | Hernando Sun
Various book review committees at Hernando County (FL) schools had recommended retaining 13 of the challenged books in school libraries. However, the final decision rested with the school board, which ultimately voted to remove 19 of the 20 titles being considered at all school levels. The only book retained was Spinning by Tillie Walden.

Book Bans Have Become a Powerful Censorship Tool in Colorado. Libraries and Patrons Hold the Line. | Rocky Mountain PBS
Colorado ranked among the top 17 in the nation for having more than 100 titles targeted for bans at public libraries. The bans hit close to home for librarian James LaRue, who served as the director of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom but had previously spent 24 years as the Douglas County (CO) Public Library District’s director. LaRue documents his experiences with challenges to library materials and how book bans have accelerated and become politicized in his book, On Censorship: A Public Librarian Examines Cancel Culture in the US. Rocky Mountain PBS recently spoke with LaRue about his work and how free speech advocates can counteract censorship.



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