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More books are being challenged across the state of Iowa

Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 5:57 PM CST
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - Books on race and sexuality in libraries are under the microscope in record numbers, across the country. The fight to ban certain books is especially heating up in Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott is calling for criminal charges against school staff members who provide students with access to what he calls controversial novels.

In 2020 the vast majority of the most challenged books tracked by the American Library Association of the Office of Intellectual Freedom features stories with LGBTQ characters and people of color.

“Reading stories about people who are unlike you, helps you build empathy for people who are unlike you,” said Amanda Vazquez, Chair of the Iowa Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee.

According to the chair of the Iowa Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee for the state of Iowa, there has been an uptick of books that discuss racism and LGBTQ experiences being challenged in the state in the last year.

“The uptick has been especially in school libraries. and it is starting to bleed into public libraries a little bit, but we haven’t seen what the schools are seeing and the challenges they are facing,” said Helen Rigdon, Director of Sioux City Public Library.

With increasing concerns librarians across the state have started to advocate why the books should stay on the shelves.

“Every parent raises their child a different way, and we feel that libraries can bring the opportunity and the knowledge to someone who is not involved or maybe where it is not their gender identity or their race, but you can learn from it and that is what we are here for. We are a diverse community, America has always been known as a melting pot, and we need to understand these different genders these different races and cultures and welcome them,” said Rigdon.

At the Sioux City Public Library if someone would like to challenge a book there is a form they are asked to fill out on the organization’s website. The library then presents the book to a committee where they review the findings and present their decision to the individual challenging the book. The library also follows a Collection Development Policy to decide which books they put on their shelves for the public.

For more information on the most banned books in the state of Iowa, you can check out this link below:

And for more information regarding the Sioux City Public Library you can find a link to their website below:

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