Spring - Klein Edition | November 2023


28 county libraries designated ‘sanctuaries’ for banned books

The Harris County Public Library system has o cially joined a nationwide movement that prevents book banning and censorship, and main- tains open access to information. Harris County commissioners unanimously approved the o cial resolution Sept. 19 that designated the 28 public county libraries as “book sanctuaries.” More than 2,900 book sanctuaries are estab- lished throughout the country, according to documents from the Chicago Public Library that began the initiative. HCPL Executive Director Edward Melton said in a news release that it’s important for the library to provide content and information to everyone in a community as diverse as Harris County. “The thing about books is that they are crucial not only as mirrors that reˆect our own experi- ences but also as windows into the experiences of others. The library must provide those opportuni- ties for all people,” Melton said.

Explained Guidelines in place for the HCPL system and its staŠ as book sanctuaries include: • Defending readers’ freedom to speak, think and read as they choose • Protecting library staŠ from harassment and intimidation • Collecting and protecting endangered books by making them available to the public • Fostering discussion about challenged and diverse books to promote understanding and mutual respect • Educating the public about current and past eŠorts to censor and ban books According to the HCPL news release, the book sanctuary resolution doesn’t bar library users from asking the library to reconsider items on its shelves for review or voicing concerns.

"In Harris County, we support our librarians and the right to read." RODNEY ELLIS, HARRIS COUNTY PRECINCT 1 COMMISSIONER

Barbara Bush Branch Library




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