Two Vague and Dangerous Book Ban Bills in South Carolina Target Public and School Libraries

Two Vague and Dangerous Book Ban Bills in South Carolina Target Public and School Libraries
Books


Two Vague and Dangerous Book Ban Bills in South Carolina Target Public and School Libraries

Where those advocating for book bans call it a case of seeking local control, provisos like this actually take away local control. It is the state legislators determining what materials are available in publicly-funded libraries in as vague terminology as possible. Public libraries already have processes and procedures in place for patrons to challenge material in the collection. It is worth noting that South Carolina is home to several very active Moms For Liberty chapters, which certainly ties into the development of this proviso, its unclear goal posts, and the power a county government can wield in its oversight and application of the proviso in their respective libraries.

Angela Craig, President of the South Carolina Library Association, hammers the point home in an official statement on the proviso:

Public libraries have robust collections of materials specifically for youth, in alignment with library collection development policies, all of which are approved by local library boards. Public libraries are guided by board approved policies that shape our collection, ultimately rooted in providing the freedom to read, a fundamental right of our community.

Libraries have always asserted that parents and caregivers are their child’s first and best teachers, and it is the right of parents to decide what is appropriate for their children. However, while parents have the right to guide their own children’s reading, they should not be making decisions for other parents’ children. Additionally, library staff does not take responsibility for judging the appropriateness of materials selected by children when parents are not present as library staff defer to parents to supervise those selections.

The language in this proviso is subjective, vague, and appears to undermine local control over library policies.

The State Library has worked to clarify they have had no role in the creation of this proviso and emphasized, too, that parental rights have never been in question.

“The South Carolina State Library and public libraries in our state support a parent’s right to guide the selection of material for their own children’s reading and encourage parental involvement,” their statement reads. “However, the changes to Proviso 27.1 are vague, subjective, and outside of the scope of the governing legislation related to the Duties of State Library in executing library policy.”

Read original article here.

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