November 30, 2021

Sara Stevenson: Texas school librarians don’t deserve Gov. Abbott dragging them into culture wars

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Sara Stevenson is a former middle school librarian. In this op-ed, she asks Governor Abbott to stop accusing librarians of promoting pornography.

Gov. Greg Abbott never misses an opportunity to jump into the culture wars. He recently sent out an incendiary letter, essentially accusing schools and their librarians of promoting pornographic materials and threatening them with the force of law.

What are these pornographic materials, and how widespread is this practice? Perhaps he should consider these factors before impugning the reputations of our school librarians.

Later, Abbott pointed to two memoirs that have recently experienced local book challenges: “In the Dream House” by National Book Award-nominated Carmen Machado and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe. Are these books widespread and being pushed into the hands of innocents? And are they pornography?

Librarians, as public servants, have no secrets. Anyone can access our online library catalogs. It is also important to note that the existence of a book in a library in no way signifies endorsement. Our job is to provide access to our communities and not only to materials which match our personal tastes or values. For example, children have access to “Mein Kampf” by Adolph Hitler in school libraries in Texas.

Read the full op-ed here.

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