This Week in Book Challenges

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Here is an update on the latest book challenges for the week of November 15, 2023.

Escambia, FL frequent book challenger and teacher manipulated her student to prop up a book complaint
"A Santa Rosa mother is accusing Escambia County teacher Vicki Baggett, who has been responsible for hundreds of book challenges, of taking advantage of her minor teenager to attack books in Santa Rosa schools.

'According to the mom, Baggett convinced her daughter to check a book out of the Jay High School library that Moms for Liberty representatives later took to deputies, complaining that librarians were providing pornography to minors. 'I’m very angry that my daughter was used to do someone else’s dirty work,' said the mother, who was not named.”

Central Bucks School District, PA flips school board after making headlines for book removals
Matching the trend of local elections around the country last week, Central Bucks School District north of Philadelphia resoundingly rejected book bans in its school board elections. All five available seats were taken by Democrats who oppose book banning. The sweep comes after the district repeatedly made news as a front line of school board culture wars.

Amid book ban fight, Alabama Public Library Service meeting in Mongomery, AL to discuss withdrawing from ALA
“Clean Up Alabama” and “Read Freely Alabama” have led the fight for and against book banning, respectively. Governor Ivey has asked the Alabama Public Library Service for more stringent restrictions. The fight will come to a partial head this week, when the Executive Board meets to discuss withdrawing from the American Library Association.

Jodi Picoult challenges Menomonee Falls, WI Superintendent over book ban
The bestselling author posted on X: "A few weeks ago I wrote to Superintendent Muñoz of the Menomonee Falls School District asking him and School Board President (Nina) Christensen to Zoom with me so they could explain why [my] book was removed from the high school library. To date: no response. What is he afraid of? Might it be that the books they are banning as pornography are not actually porn, and do have merit? Might it be that they don’t want authors like me speaking out against their actions.”

Young County, TX library restricts access to vaginal health book 
The book "We Need to Talk about Vaginas: An Important Book about Vulvas, Periods, Puberty and Sex” narrowly avoided banning after "several men within the crowd” at a library meeting "voiced the book should not be on the shelves in the library due to the progressive nature of the topics discussed.” The book’s author, a certified OBGYN and reproductive endocrinologist, pointed out that the book is about vaginal health. "This book is about how to clean, how to take care of yourself during your period, what’s normal and what’s not.” Though challengers failed to ban it, they did succeed in restricting its access so that minors need parental permission to check it out, making it harder for young people with vaginas to access information about their health. 

Pella Public Library, IA maintains board independence after tight referendum win
Last week’s election in Pella, Iowa saw the library board maintain its independence from city council oversight, which would have likely led to book removals. The measure to create city council oversight failed by just 87 votes. 

Carroll County Schools in Baltimore, MD to update policy after 58 book challenges
Moms for Liberty members challenged 58 books in August, some of which have been removed from shelves. The county school district has agreed to update the policy language, but the draft is not yet publicly available.

Pine Richland School District in Western PA elects majority in favor of book bans.
Pine Richland School District made news ahead of Election Day for its battles over book access, with Moms for Liberty-backed members issuing book challenges and many other students and parents rallying against them. After winning a four of the five available school board seats, supporters of book censorship are in a position to restrict books. According to CBS News, Pine Richland is recruiting community members to serve on the book review committee.

Kingsland, TX librarian among those filing EEOC claims for discrimination
Librarians fired for standing up for diverse books are turning to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for redress. Suzette Baker, former library director in the Llano County Library System in Kingsland, TX, is one of them. 

Collier County Public Schools in Southern Florida to restrict nearly 400 books
In response to HB 1069, Florida’s wide-ranging book ban bill, Collier County Public Schools officials plan to ban over 300 titles from school libraries and restrict access to nearly 100 additional titles.

Central York School Districts, PA reject book banners for school board
"Voters in the district chose the candidates who ran against banning books and injecting divisive social issues into the school board — by close margins,” says the York Daily Record. A bipartisan group of school board candidates who opposed banning books was elected to tip the majority in the nine-seat board against book bans.

Fresno County, CA Board of Supervisors approves book ban policy
Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal by their Supervisor to establish a book-removal process. The proposal is inherently discriminatory, framing any mention of gender-identity as de facto age-inappropriate.