New bill would create book banning criteria for libraries
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – This year, there has been a growing movement across the country where certain groups are calling for specific books to be removed from the shelves of public libraries. That trend made it to New Mexico.
“In Sandoval County, we did have a hate group that went to numerous library board meetings and up to the city’s governing body to request six books to be removed, in which they felt were not appropriate for a public use,” said Kathleen Cates.
Even after months of protesters attending library board meetings, calling for six LGBTQ books to be banned, the Rio Rancho Public Library System did not end up removing any books.
They say no one who raised these concerns at meetings followed the libraries reconsideration process or filled out the library’s book reconsideration form.
So now, lawmakers want to make sure all libraries follow this same process.
“It’s stating that the individual public libraries have a criteria to vet their books,” said Cates. “Every public library has an individual process in place on how to vet the books, request books that you want on the shelves and vet the books that you think are no longer being used.”
This new law would also create consequences if libraries do not follow this standardized process.
“If the library overrides their own process, and removes books because of the outside group pressure, they will risk losing state funding,” said Cates.
This process Cates and other lawmakers are trying to put in place is based off the American Library Associations Standards.
In 2023, the state of Illinois passed a very similar bill, and New Mexico is using that law for the framework of their bill.