January 24, 2022

San Antonio, Texas: “North East Independent School District Pulls Over 400 Library Books For Review, Prompted By Lawmaker’s Inquiry”

From the San Antonio Express-News:

One of the largest school districts in Texas is pulling more than 400 books from its shelves for review, after a Republican state lawmaker flagged them as inappropriate.

The inquiry launched by North East Independent School District in San Antonio is the most far-reaching response yet to a push from the lawmaker and Gov. Greg Abbott to scrutinize school library books dealing with issues of sexuality and systemic racism. Already, the district says it has identified books that contain graphic sexual content that is not suitable for students 18 and under.

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The removal of the books from North East ISD libraries has sparked outrage among some students and community members who decry the effort as censorship that will marginalize minority and LGBT students. An online petition started by students Friday opposing the move has garnered more than 800 signatures so far.

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NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor said the district is reviewing 414 books that appeared on Krause’s list and others questioned by parents and community members or mentioned in media reports “out of an abundance of caution” and to “ensure they did not have any obscene or vulgar material in them.”

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More From NBC News:

North East Independent School District in San Antonio said it determined its libraries contained 414 books on a list of roughly 800 targeted by state Rep. Matt Krause. Krause, who chairs the House General Investigating Committee, has asked school officials to search their campuses for copies of the books from the list and respond with how many they have, among other questions such as how the books were paid for.

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The books featured on the list are both nonfiction and fiction, and many cover issues such as race and racial equality, gender equality, identity and sexual orientation, as well as topics such as teen sexuality, pregnancy and abortion.

The list includes some well-known and lauded books such as “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Confessions of Nat Turner” by William Styron and “The Cider House Rules” by John Irving.

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The district is also forming a book review committee to determine what books may need to go in a separate section of the library depending on their age appropriateness. It will also add an electronic tool for parents to see which books are being checked out by their kids, she said.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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