Governor’s ‘book bans’ don’t affect public libraries

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Lawmakers in Florida have not been shy about advancing measures aimed at making it easier for the public to challenge the content of school libraries and classroom materials. They are also banning some books.

While book bans may impact Florida public schools, the Leon County Public Library system has said it supports literary choice and that it has no intention of removing books from its shelves.

As some members of the Florida Legislature attempt to restrict the types of books that can be found in public school libraries, the local public library is held a reading event on Feb 21.

There is a possibility that the book being showcased for this event will eventually run afoul of the proposed restrictions, depending on how the session plays out. The state Department of Education announced last week that more than 50 math books had been banned based on “critical race theory” content.

“Director of the LeRoy Collins Leon County Library System Pamela Monroe welcomed visitors to the event, held outside the main branch on a blocked-off Park Avenue,” according to FSU public media. “There are a number of books that have been challenged and banned. If you go to the American Libraries Association website, you will see this is something that is always happening. But we hope that people continue to have a choice for what they want to read. We feel that’s very important.”

Jalia Dowdell, a resident of Leon County, believes it is important for everyone to be able to see themselves in the literature that they read along with the history that they read.

“I don’t agree with lawmakers making the decision to say what’s right and wrong in literature,” she said.

School officials in Palm Beach County have pulled two books from their classrooms and libraries about transgender kids as a result of a new state law, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

The book “I Am Jazz” illustrates the challenges faced by a transgender child. This book is also based on the recent TLC reality series Jazz Jennings.

Another book, “Call Me Max,” describes the experiences of a girl who felt more like a boy when she was a child.

More than a dozen states have imposed book bans and restrictions since January 2021 limiting the ways teachers can discuss racism and sexism, including the teaching of “critical race theory.”

“Any parent who does not want their child to read a book can opt out of it, but please don’t deny other kids this opportunity. That’s not right,” local parent Chandra Dowdell said.

“DeSantis is promoting legislation to ‘fight back against woke indoctrination’ after banning the teaching of critical race theory and The New York Times’ acclaimed 1619 Project, which explores the legacy of slavery in America, in schools,” according to MSNBC.