Home 5 Articles and Reports 5 Victory for Readers’ Rights: banned books in Texas return to shelves

Victory for Readers’ Rights: banned books in Texas return to shelves

Texas libraries cannot ban books due to a ruling by a US judge

In a victory for freedom of expression, a federal judge has ruled that a library board in Llano County likely violated readers’ constitutional rights by unilaterally removing books it considered inappropriate. The judge has issued a preliminary injunction requiring that the banned books be immediately returned to the shelves and blocking the library from removing any other books while the case continues.

In his 26-page decision, judge Robert Pitman denied Llano County’s motion to have the case dismissed on a standing issue, finding that the plaintiffs—a group of local library patrons—have “alleged sufficient facts to show they are suffering an actual, ongoing injury.” And in granting the plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief, Pitman held that the plaintiffs “have made a clear showing that they are likely to succeed on their viewpoint discrimination claim.”

The closely watched suit was first filed on April 25, 2022. Among the allegations, the plaintiffs alleged that Llano county officials were “systematically removing award-winning books from library shelves because they disagree with the ideas within them”; that they terminated the libraries’ OverDrive account because county officials could not pick and choose titles available to county residents; and that the public is being improperly denied access to library board meetings. “The censorship that defendants have imposed on Llano County public libraries is offensive to the First Amendment and strikes at the core of democracy,” reads the initial federal complain

County officials countered that there is no injury from the removal of the books and argued that the county had broad rights to “weed” its collection and remove titles. But while Pitman’s March 30 opinion and order recognized a library’s discretion to choose and manage its collections, he reiterated that library collections are constitutionally protected from unwarranted government intrusion, and found the evidence showed Llano County officials were not simply engaged in a weeding exercise.

 

“Although libraries are afforded great discretion for their selection and acquisition decisions, the First Amendment prohibits the removal of books from libraries based on either viewpoint or content discrimination,” Pitman writes. “Here, the evidence shows defendants targeted and removed books, including well-regarded, prize-winning books, based on complaints that the books were inappropriate.”

Among those books ordered restored: 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; Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings; In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak; and My Butt is So Noisy! by Dawn McMillan.

Ellen Leonida, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, called the decision a “ringing victory” for democracy. “The government cannot tell citizens what they can or can’t read,” Leonida said. “Our nation was founded on the free exchange of ideas, and banning books you disagree with is a direct attack on our most basic liberties.”

Source: Publishers Weekly

 

Recent News

25Jun
Record Attendance at Beijing’s Revamped Book Fair

Record Attendance at Beijing’s Revamped Book Fair

 Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) wrapped up on 23 June with organisers reporting more visitors and more international countries represented since before the pandemic. The fair’s new venue was warmly welcomed with organisers concluding:  “BIBF is forging ahead with hope and embracing the changes.”    This vear saw 1,600 exhibitors of which 1,050 were international […]

25Jun
Manilla Press Acquires Kenji Ueda’s Latest Novel

Manilla Press Acquires Kenji Ueda’s Latest Novel

A new race is on among publishers see who can find the next Japanese/Korean ‘quiet lit’ sensation.  The latest acquisition is by the UK’s Bonnier Books Manilla Press which has pre-empted Letters from the Ginza Shihodo Stationery Shop by Kenji Ueda, translated by Emily Balistrieri.   The publisher says the novel, set in the Ginza […]

24Jun
Boris Johnson to “Unleash” Political Tell-All Amidst Election Turmoil

Boris Johnson to “Unleash” Political Tell-All Amidst Election Turmoil

HarperCollins wins former PM’s memoirs With the Conservatives trailing in the polls in the UK, HarperCollins has announced it is to publish the memoirs of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.  Unleashed will be published in the UK by William Collins on 10 October and in the US by Harper on 15 October.   The Conservatives […]

Related Posts

Manilla Press Acquires Kenji Ueda’s Latest Novel

Manilla Press Acquires Kenji Ueda’s Latest Novel

A new race is on among publishers see who can find the next Japanese/Korean ‘quiet lit’ sensation.  The latest acquisition is by the UK’s Bonnier Books Manilla Press which has pre-empted Letters from the Ginza Shihodo Stationery Shop by Kenji Ueda, translated by Emily...

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai: Book Review

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai: Book Review

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai: Book Review The Mountains Sing tells the story of the Vietnam War through the perspective of three generations of a relatively wealthy Vietnamese family living in the North. Although it touches on the occupation of the...

Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang – Book Review

Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang – Book Review

  Yellowface is set in the world of publishing that tells the tale of two young novelists in Washington DC. June Hayward is a novelist whose coming-of-age debut was released to middling acclaim. Wracked by careerist envy, June is debilitated by the success of her...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest