The lawsuit, filed Monday in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio, alleges that county officials removed books from the shelves of the three-branch public library system “because they disagreed with the ideas within them” and ended access to thousands. than digital books because they can’t block two specific titles.
“Public libraries are not places for government indoctrination. They are not places where people in power can dictate to their citizens what their citizens are allowed to read and learn. When government agencies target public library books because they disagree with ideas and intend to suppress them and within them endanger everyone’s freedoms,” As stated in the lawsuit.
Lanno County Judge Ron Cunningham, and County Commissioners Jerry Don Moss, Peter Jones, and Linda Rashke; Library System Director Amber Millum and four members of the Lanno County Library Board, Bonnie Wallace, Rochelle Wells, Rhonda Schneider and Jay Baskin, have been named as co-defendants in the case. They did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment. Llano County Commissioner Mike Sandoval, who is also named as a defendant in the suit, declined to comment.
In the lawsuit, Llano County mother Lily Green-Little, and six other plaintiffs argue that county officials removed several children’s books last August in response to complaints from a group of community members who described them as inappropriate. Among those titles are Maurice Sendak’s “In the Night Kitchen” and “It’s All Natural: Changing Bodies, Growth, Sex, and Sexual Health” by Robbie H. Harris.
In an email to Cunningham and others, Wallace asked “all pastors to participate in this matter. Perhaps they can organize a weekly prayer vigil on this particular issue. …I pray that God will protect our children from this torment,” the lawsuit alleged.
The lawsuit alleges that the county suspended access to e-books because it “was unable to remove two books from Krause’s list that offended politics and personal sensibilities,” dissolved its current library board, appointed Wallace and others who lobbied for the books’ removal, and closed public advisory board meetings.
Green Little, one of the residents who filed the suit, previously told CNN that her group of anti-censorship residents attended county meetings, wrote letters to officials and requested public records in an effort to “stop censorship.”
In addition to attorneys’ fees and a court order stating that the defendants have violated their constitutional rights, the lawsuit seeks an injunction designed “to end the defendants’ efforts to monopolize the market for ideas, and to ensure that there is once again a ‘perfect’ provision of material that presents all viewpoints concerning the problems of and Issues of Our Time, “To all patrons of the Llano County Library.”
“It is a shame that this unnecessary culture war could lead to this, but we applaud the efforts of these individuals to take advantage of the justice system to speak out and say ‘enough is enough,’” Robinson said. restricting freedom of reading.
For Jonathan Friedman, director of the Freedom of Expression and Education Program at PEN America, the Llano County lawsuit could have a major impact on the current climate and serve as a reminder of the constitutional protections people have across the country.
Friedman told CNN that there was a “sort of duty revocation” in support of the First Amendment and there was “very little resistance” from officials when there are demands to remove materials from school or public libraries.
“Whether it’s on the school board or whether it’s in a library, someone wants something and it looks like they’re going. In their meetings, there’s no resistance, there’s no friction, there’s no one in some of these rooms saying ‘OK, wait a minute’ Let’s make sure that we exercise due diligence, due process, and consider the kind of diversity of opinions as the people our organization serves.”