I want to applaud our county librarians and the all-volunteer Anderson County Library Board for going above and beyond on the issue of whether to restrict certain books in our county libraries: They have held multiple public hearings.
They have asked for input from the county lawyer and accepted ALL his suggestions, including a more-robust permission form parents must sign for their children to check out books, and creating a more-equitable process for reviewing challenged books.
They have asked the sheriff to check the books in question and NONE of them were found to be pornographic.
Yet, some audience members at the Oct. 12 Anderson County Library Board meeting seemed oblivious [to] the hard work the board has already done to improve the system, just rehashing the same old arguments against particular books, which are almost exclusively sex education books or books on LGBTQ issues.
Speakers claimed that the books in question will lead young people to be more sexually active, but evidence consistently shows that the opposite is true: The better informed young people are about sexuality, the more likely they are to DELAY the onset of sexual activity.
At the meeting, I heard several people say, “We will not stop until all these books are removed from our libraries.”
Such remarks indicate an unwillingness to compromise, and make me wonder what lengths they will take to impose their will: Regurgitate their arguments at every meeting until they wear everyone down? Stack the library board with book-banning advocates? Request the removal of more and more books they don’t approve of? Restructure the county library system so the county mayor can have control of the libraries? Remove funding from the libraries so they close down?
Our libraries are here for our whole, diverse community, not just a vocal few. I urge those who oppose the banning of books and want to continue to have libraries in our county to persist in their efforts of opposition. This is a slippery slope.