Report: “Indiana Lawmakers Battle Over Bill That Could Criminalize Librarians For Objectionable Books”
From WFYI (Indianapolis):
The House Education Committee heard hours of testimony Wednesday from school employees, librarians, and others across Indiana who expressed opposition to a proposed amendment to a bill that would strip these employees of a legal defense against charges they distributed material harmful to minors.
The hearing was the latest evolution in a months-long legislative process driven by concerns among some parents that pornography is rampant in schools. While lawmakers have drafted legislation to address these concerns, they’ve presented little evidence to suggest it’s a widespread problem. The latest iteration of the legislation also targets public libraries.
Rep. Becky Cash (R-Zionsville), who crafted the amendment, said she’s heard from “thousands” of parents who have lodged complaints with their schools over books they believed were objectionable.
Librarians and others also expressed concern that regardless of whether the change in law results in prosecutions, it could still have a chilling effect on the types of materials librarians choose to put in school and public library collections — particularly when it comes to books that deal with racism, gender, sexuality and those that feature individuals from marginalized communities.
Specifically, lawmakers and those who testified sparred over the appropriateness of the book, “Gender Queer,” a graphic novel written and illustrated by Maia Kobabe, that recounts the author’s exploration of their gender identity.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.