Huntsville residents concerned over possible censorship at city library
In late September a “Read With Pride” display was quickly taken down, along with all other displays in the library.
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (KBTX) - Some Huntsville residents are worried about a disconnect between city leaders and the city library surrounding what books and displays the library can have.
In late September a “Read With Pride” display was quickly taken down, along with all other displays in the library. The City Librarian was also placed on leave.
Then on October 18, Amanda Louie, a regular face at the library and involved community member, witnessed a Huntsville police officer behind the checkout desk.
“I had my cellphone in my hand and I immediately started recording because I was like ‘oh my goodness, he was here reviewing books,’ and he’s telling her that when the rest of the books they put on reserve come in, he’s going to come back pick them all up and then someone is going to make a decision about whether they can remain in circulation or not,” Louie said.
The books included young adult titles, but Louie also noticed books for adults in the stack, such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Brave New World,” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.”
Louie already planned to speak at the city council meeting that night about the displays being taken down, but after seeing and hearing the officer, she scrapped her prepared remarks and let the council know what she witnessed.
A few days later, Louie returned to the library and saw the books the officer was reviewing back on the shelves and in circulation, but she still hasn’t been able to figure out what was happening.
“The police officers, they do a great job, but this is outside of their scope, outside of their training, they’re not first amendment experts, they’re not experts in the miller test for obscenity.
“What are y’all doing, you’re removing books from the library?”
KBTX has tried to get answers, too. We’ve made repeated attempts to get anyone in the Huntsville Police Department and the City Manager to return our calls over the course of the past several weeks.
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