The recent Texas state house bill banning “sexually explicit” books from school libraries is poised to ruin children’s access to all books, sexual or not. Shirley Robinson, executive director of the Texas Library Association tells Ali Velshi the bill threatens to cause “chaos and confusion” among publishers, booksellers and schools — and delay access to AP materials and books in series. The bill is not about helping children; it’s about helping politicians.
Deciding what a child reads is the job of parents, teachers and librarians who curate content based on, among other things, age appropriateness. The desire to protect children from difficult or provocative topics fails to acknowledge that under the umbrella of free speech, you can choose to have those discussions. In a functioning society, being exposed to other people’s experiences is necessary for understanding, compromise, and good citizenship.
But discussion and conversation are not happening. Instead, librarians enduring name-calling online and in-person bullying. Libraries, designed to be safe spaces where people can find answers to their questions, are at risk. Librarians, like teachers, are quitting in increasing numbers.
Texas leads the rest of the U.S. with 438 total book bans this year.
Listen to Velshi and Robinson:
Watch Velshi’s interview:
Velshi on banned books on MSNBC:
MORE ON BANNED BOOKS FROM THE CITIZEN