Llano commissioners target books deemed "pornographic filth"
Last year, Bonnie Wallace, in an email alerting Llano County commissioners about "pornographic filth" in their libraries, sent commissioners a list of about 60 books that "can be checked out by our children and grandchildren" that should relocated to the adult section.
What they're saying: "This is atrocious," wrote Wallace, who would later be named a vice chair of the county library advisory board by the commissioners, per documents obtained by Axios.
Among the titles:
- "Separate is Never Equal."
- "Cinderella is Dead."
- "Caste: The Origins of our Discontents."
- "A Good Kind of Trouble."
- "How to be an Antiracist."
- "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl."
Wallace warned that if "more radicals come to town," they "could use the fact that we censored these books against us" if the books are removed altogether.
Of note: During the pandemic, Austinites began looking further afield for housing amid a rise in remote work and spiraling property costs.
A commissioner ordered the head librarian to get rid of any copies of "Lawn Boy" or "Gender Queer" — available at the time to readers through the online book-borrowing service the county was using.
What they're saying: The Llano Library System "reviewed and recategorized the children's book section to provide parents a better insight" into the books available to young readers, Cunningham, the county judge, told Axios.
- Llano County "is committed to continuing to provide excellent public library services consistent with community needs and standards," he said.
- The online book-borrowing vendor was switched because parental controls could be "easily disabled" by children, Cunningham said.
- And he said that by remaking the library advisory board, the county had "expanded citizen participation."
Zoom out: Llano County has a troubled recent history involving race.
- A Facebook posting in 2020 featured a recording of the Llano County Sheriff saying, "I don't trust groups of blacks."
- At a candidate forum that year Sheriff Bill Blackburn confirmed the voice was his: "I am not racist," he said. "I never have been."
- He was reelected in a landslide.
- Last year the executive director of the Llano Chamber of Commerce was forced to apologize for a Juneteenth message posted on the central town square marquee that it operates.
- "Happy Juneteenth," announced the marquee. "You're free. Stand up and live like it."
The marquee is yards from the county's memorial to the Confederate dead.
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