ALA: Book ban attempts up 40% in the last year
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Monday, the American Library Association released its top 10 list of books most commonly requested to be banned, and seven are about LGBTQ topics.
Multiple neighbors in Rio Rancho took their concerns straight to city council earlier this month:
“No rational parent would allow their child to view this despicable material.”
“It is for the sake of protecting our children, we all probably have teenagers and know they are not fully fledged reasoning adults.”
“Why would sexually oriented material, harmful to minors, be allowed in our public libraries?”
One man brought in a handful of examples from the Rio Rancho Public Library, including a book called “This Book is Gay.” That book made it onto the American Library Association’s list of commonly challenged books.
The ALA also noticed requests to ban books from public libraries went up by 40% in the last year, including in New Mexico.
“We have encountered a couple of groups that are posing to censor some of the titles that we have on our shelves in the libraries in Rio Rancho,” said Jaley Turpen, a Rio Rancho city communications specialist.
“It’s always a concern when someone wants to restrict another person’s access to information, and we should all be able to access the information that we need to fulfill our lives and goals,” said Dean Smith an Albuquerque library director.
Both the Rio Rancho and Albuquerque Public Libraries have “request for reconsideration” forms. Concerned community members can fill those out to get a book reviewed and possibly removed.
This was explained during the Rio Rancho city council meeting, but a week later:
“None of the groups opposed to said titles have submitted a request for reconsideration, so there hasn’t been a formal follow up since our meeting,” said Turpin.
So, while no books have been pulled from the shelves, library leaders do have some words of potential comfort for these concerned parents.
“As far as children go, we do believe that every parent has the right to guide what their child reads and views, and for those parent who want to, we have a children library cards that can only be used to borrow materials meant for children,” said Smith.
Those request for reconsideration forms can be picked up in-person by anyone with a library card at any Rio Rancho or Albuquerque Public Library branch
For more information on the process of requests for reconsideration, visit abqlibrary.org.