How the library wars have played out in one Texas county
A former Llano County librarian alleges that she was fired for insubordination this month after refusing to remove books from the shelves.
Driving the news: Documents obtained by Axios and interviews we've conducted show how a group of residents has won control of the local library system and pushed for a purge of books touching on gender and race.
Why it matters: Llano County is a case study in how efforts to pull books off shelves have caught fire across Texas — and the rest of the country — as Republicans land on a hot-button issue ahead of midterm elections.
- Top GOP politicians in the state, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, have called for investigating library inventory as a matter of parental control.
- Books dealing with topics such as race and gender have been especially singled-out by state lawmakers as they raise alarms about “critical race theory” and transgender care.
"Freedom to read is a right that must be protected in our schools and public libraries, and we must not give in to the vocal few that want to speak for the many."— Austin Public Library director Roosevelt Weeks in December
Of note: Llano County, with population 21,000 and a median household income of $53,000, is 86% non-Hispanic white and went for Donald Trump by an 80-20 margin in 2020.
- It spends about $600,000 a year on library operations. Austin, with a median household income of $72,000 and nearly a million people, has a library budget of about $60 million.
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