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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Banning book bans: It won't work

Illinois libraries that ban or restrict books for "partisan or doctrinal" reasons will lose state funding under a new law, reports Claire Savage for AP.

“We are not saying that every book should be in every single library,” said Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, who is also the state librarian. “What this law does is it says, let’s trust our experience and education of our librarians to decide what books should be in circulation.”

I think the law is meaningless. If someone disagrees with a librarian's judgment, they'll find a reason that isn't "partisan" or "doctrinal," such as "books with explicit sex scenes are inappropriate for children." Or, perhaps, "this is racist."

In my newspaper days, I remember a black parents' group that objected toThe Cay, which featured a saintly black man who saves a racist white boy, as well as Huckleberry Finn. Then a Hispanic group tried to ban Always Running: La Vida Loca, the memoir of a Chicano gang member in East LA.

A black group in Florida called Woke and Ready (WAR) has called for banning classic books as a protest against the state's so-called "Stop Woke Act", reports Stephanie Susskind of WPTV.

WAR's list of books that should be removed includes The Odyssey, The Great Gatsby, The Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare and more. "They may not even mention race, but even the lack of any racial characters in those works shows there is a neglect of Black children," Leah Gaines with the Coalition for Black Student Achievement.

In another protest against book banning, Rabbi Barry Silver, a local activist, asked the Palm Beach County School Board to remove the Bible from school libraries for inappropriate content, reports Susskind.

Florida does not ban books, she writes. "However, the state has given parents more rights to challenge school reading material," which "can lead to a book's removal if deemed not appropriate" by the school district.

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