The Texas Education Agency released recommended statewide standards Monday for Texas public school libraries.
TEA's guidelines say districts should make new selections readily available for parents to review and that school librarians or staff should be “encouraged” to ask parents what their children can and cannot read. They also suggest that school boards have final approval of new books and that a committee be put in place to review books if parents file a formal “request for reconsideration.”
School districts are allowed to set their own policies for library content and are not required to adopt the agency’s recommendations, which were released in response to Gov. Greg Abbott's request for TEA, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and State Board of Education to develop guidelines to ensure that “inappropriate” or “pornographic” materials are not in Texas public school libraries.
Current efforts to review books in Texas are playing out across the country, and the American Library Association recently released its list of the Top 10 most challenged books of 2021:
Last year, the ALA said it recorded 729 challenges to library, school and university materials and services — up from 156 and 377 challenges reported to the ALA in 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Watch your mailbox! TCTA's Spring issue of The Classroom Teacher has more information about the current efforts to ban books. It will be mailed next week.