What You Need To Know

What is the Texas Library Association?

The Texas Library Association (TLA) is the largest state library association in the U.S. Its almost 5,000 members represent all library types: academic, public, school and special. TLA was established in 1902 and is a 501(c)3 governed by volunteer leaders to promote, support, and improve library services in Texas.

What does the coalition aim to achieve?

Our goal is to ensure that librarians across Texas will be entrusted to continue to do their jobs and serve the needs of ALL students and communities. Obtaining an education without influence from those who “know better” is vital to all children across Texas and the country.

We believe that while a specific book may not be the right fit for one child, that doesn’t mean it isn’t the perfect fit for another child. Librarians have extensive education and training which they rely on to meticulously develop a diverse set of learning materials for a diverse group of children. The government should not be making sweeping decisions that take that process of careful consideration away from the experts.

Why banning books is bad practice.

The right to receive an education is foundational to America and our democracy. An education helps students not only prepare to be adults and learn how to read, write, add and subtract, but also provides important critical thinking skills. Books currently being targeted are those written by and about traditionally marginalized people and experiences. We fear this is just the beginning and if not stopped will have long-term ramifications on society.

Why is this an issue all of a sudden?

Censorship is nothing new. However, the volume of attempted censorship efforts we are seeing now is unprecedented. Beside it being an election year, we believe the proponents of removing books are trying to create a wedge issue and further divide our state and country by turning this into a culture war.

How are books selected for libraries?

Collection development policies, which are used by librarians to choose books, are developed and approved by library governing authorities (school boards, or city or county governments). Librarians work extremely hard to develop library collections that reflect the diversity of their particular community or school. The implication by government officials that they would intentionally include books that are harmful undermines their best efforts and erodes public trust.

What are the qualifications to be a librarian?

Librarians have master’s degrees and receive significant education and ongoing training which qualifies them to develop collections that meet the broad and varied interests and needs of students and communities. Certified school librarians must also have at least two years of classroom teaching experience, must pass a state certification exam, and obtain at least 200 hours of continuing education credit every five years to maintain their certification.

What is the process for getting a book removed from a library?

There is a clear, transparent process approved by library governing authorities (school boards or city or county governments) for handling challenges to books. Essential to this process is a requirement that the book(s) being challenged must be read by those participating in the challenge review before any decision is made. What we are seeing today are books being removed based on fear and subjective beliefs, not because of its unreviewed content.