Apr 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Texas residents sue Llano County officials for removing books

tudents in the library receive candy and red envelopes in a cultural celebration of the Lunar New Year at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 on February 02, 2022 in New York City

Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

A citizens group in Llano County, Texas, filed a lawsuit Monday accusing county officials of violating the First Amendment when they removed books from public libraries.

Driving the news: "Public libraries are not places of government indoctrination. "They are not places where the people in power can dictate what their citizens are permitted to read about and learn," a group of anti-censorship activists wrote in a court filing.

  • "When government actors target public library books because they disagree with and intend to suppress the ideas contained within them, it jeopardizes the freedoms of everyone," per the lawsuit.
  • The lawsuit also argues that Suzette Baker, a former Llano County librarian who alleges that she was fired for insubordination after refusing to remove books from the shelves, was improperly fired.

The big picture: In an earlier statement on the controversy, officials in Llano County said: "[The county was] cognizant of the concerns of our citizens pertaining to our library system," the Washington Post reports.

  • County Judge Ron Cunningham, the head of the commissioners court, also expressed disappointment that "a portion of the public and media have chosen to propagate disinformation that Llano County (and other rural communities) are operating with political or phobic motivations. This is not the case."

Why it matters: Llano County is a case study in how efforts to pull books off shelves have gained momentum across Texas as Republicans land on a hot-button issue ahead of midterm elections, Axios' Asher Price reports.

Go deeper ... How a Texas county tried to purge books

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