A recent effort has been made to encourage local leaders to ban books in public libraries. States like Texas, Missouri, Louisiana, Florida, and Oklahoma have tried to pass policies that restrict what can be presented in public libraries. Many of these books that are being proposed for restriction are about LGBTQ+ or POC experiences. Some have labeled the books as inappropriate to have in public spaces, even going so far as to call LGBTQ+ representation pornographic. Restrictions on music and literature are not new concepts, with a large wave occurring in the 80s in an attempt to control the morality of music. Similar to today’s rhetoric, the argument was to protect children from morally comprising information. These parallels bring into question the legitimacy of the claims of protection.
These restrictions also severely impact those who rely on public libraries or school libraries for literary information. Removing these books from public libraries and school libraries affects the public’s information on these topics. People who do not have access to private collections or funds to buy their own books are potentially missing out on enriching books that they can relate to. These topics already have limited representation in literature and further attempts to eliminate these types of books might make them vanish completely. Additionally, this could also limit the content that is put into books. If authors are scared of being restricted, they may minimize the information they want to provide to their audience. The biggest issue with these restrictions, however, is the implications for limiting other forms of information. If these sensors on literature are not blocked then there are concerns about what the public has access to. Excluding educational or informational material just because it’s not agreeable to a certain group of people defeats the purpose of public libraries. Based on who is in power and what that group or party agrees with, the availability of information could change so often it would be difficult to keep up.