Texas county to consider shutting down library after judge orders contested books returned to shelves

Texas county to consider shutting down library after judge orders contested books returned to shelves
Image via Shutterstock.

Officials in Llano County, Texas will meet this week to decide if they will close their local public library system and terminate all employees after a federal judge last week ordered 12 books with LGBTQ and race-related content to be returned to library shelves.

Seven residents sued the county after books including “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson, “They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, and “Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen” by Jazz Jennings were taken off library shelves, CNN reports.

In their First and Fourteenth Amendment lawsuit residents says their civil rights were violated. A federal judge agreed, ordering the county to put the books back on the shelves within 24 hours.

READ MORE: The Religious-Right Coalition Behind Kansas’ Sweeping Anti-Trans Legislation

“They argue in the suit that their First Amendment rights to access and receive ideas had been infringed when officials limited access to certain books based on their content and messages. The county residents also alleged their 14th Amendment right to due process was violated as the books were removed without notice or ability to appeal,” The Texas Tribune reports.

“U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman wrote in an opinion filed Thursday that the plaintiffs had ‘clearly met their burden to show that these are content-based restrictions that are unlikely to pass constitutional muster.’”

The Tribune’s Alejandro Serrano Monday evening reported, “Less than two weeks after a federal judge ordered Llano County officials to return to the public library system books they’d removed and allow them to be checked out again, officials this week will consider shutting down the library.”

Serrano posted a copy of a special meeting agenda, and this link to it.

READ MORE: ‘He Should Speak to Someone Who Knows the Law’: Clarence Thomas Mocked Over Why He Didn’t Disclose Gifts of Luxury Vacations

One agenda item reads: “Continue or cease operations of the current physical Llano County Library System pending further guidance from the Federal Courts. This action item will include discussion and action regarding the continued employment and/or status of the Llano County Library System employees and the feasibility of the use of the library premises by the public.”

“Two of the members of the commissioners court — the county judge and a precinct commissioner — are named defendants in the suit challenging the book removals,” Serrano adds. “The defendants have appealed the federal judge’s temporary injunction with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}
@2022 - AlterNet Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. - "Poynter" fonts provided by fontsempire.com.