A Texas law that would have required independent bookstores, national chain bookstores, large online book retailers, book publishers and other vendors to review and rate millions of books and other library materials according to sexual content if those books are sold to school libraries, has been blocked by Judge Alan D. Albright of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.
The ruling came in response to a suit filed by two Texas bookstores, Austins BookPeople, and West Houstons Blue Willow Bookshop, together with the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The two bookstores and industry bodies listed above issued a joint statement: We are grateful for the Courts swift action in deciding to enjoin this law, in the process preserving the long-established rights of local communities to set their own standards; protecting the constitutionally protected speech of authors, booksellers, publishers and readers; preventing the state government from unlawfully compelling speech on the part of private citizens; and shielding Texas businesses from the imposition of impossibly onerous conditions. We look forward to reading the courts full opinion once it is issued.
Meanwhile, the New York Times noted: Efforts to ban books have soared across the United States in the last two years, driven by conservative groups and lawmakers who have targeted books they view as inappropriate, most often titles that address race and L.G.B.T.Q. issues. Lately, a growing number of public libraries have responded to complaints by moving books out of the childrens section, or placing them in a restricted area where parental permission is required.
Books affected include classics like Forever by Judy Blume and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, as well as two of John Greens novels, Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars.