Giving Compass' Take:
- Amelia Pak-Harvey explains that librarians in Indiana are concerned that a state law banning books deemed “obscene” and “harmful to minors” from school libraries will cause self-censorship as libraries try to avoid running afoul of the law.
- What role can you play in preventing and reverseing book bans?
- Learn how philanthropy can help fight book bans.
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That’s the insult Chad Heck remembers, hurled by the people behind him as he testified in the state legislature earlier this year.
Like other Indiana school librarians who spoke against legislation seeking to restrict school bookshelves this session, Heck tried to dispel the notion that he and his colleagues were peddlers of porn — and found himself part of the national culture wars that have pitted some parents who mistrust public education against school leaders and staff.
Ultimately, lawmakers passed a bill that forbids books deemed “obscene” or “harmful to minors” on school library shelves, following hours of heated public comment. House Enrolled Act 1447 also requires school districts to establish procedures to publish their school library catalogs, and to set up a process for a parent or community member to request removal of obscene or harmful material.
Now, Heck and other librarians with the Indiana Library Federation (ILF) who fought against the legislation are learning to live with the law, but they are still trying to clarify misconceptions about it. They stress that the law is not an outright book ban. They also say many districts already post their catalogs online, and already have procedures for challenging books.
School librarians say that contrary to what some might think, they don’t have obscene or harmful material in their collections. Instead, they worry the law will create what amounts to self-censorship among school librarians — who for the past few years have been the target of public scorn and scrutiny over what, exactly, is on their shelves.
Read the full article about book bans by Amelia Pak-Harvey at Chalkbeat.