I was in the car earlier this week with my grandma when we heard a story about books being removed from the shelves of Midland County Library. However, the books weren’t banned, but simply made inaccessible to young readers.
According to the Texas Standard, the news organization that reported on the incident, Midland County Commissioner Dianne Anderson had led a group to go through the children’s and young adult sections and take books off of the shelves that they found offensive or inappropriate. I find their actions to be offensive and inappropriate.
When I heard the story I was immediately confused by why they felt like they could be making the best decision for all children and young people. How did they know what should and shouldn’t be on the shelves? Some of the titles of the books they removed are ‘An ABC of Equality’ and ‘My Two Dads and Me.’
I don’t see how potentially encouraging children and young adults to value diversity and consider the ways in which families can look different is inappropriate or offensive. It allows for students to practice considering perspectives different from their own, which I believe creates room for empathy to grow.
The library is supposed to be a place where people can utilize resources they may not have access to. It’s a place where someone can learn about anything they’d like because the information is accessible to them.
For Midland County Library, this isn’t the case. The commissioner and her group are censoring, not because of the public’s request to remove a book, but because they for whatever reason don’t want to see it in the children’s and YA section.
When I was younger I loved the library. I liked that it was filled with so many different stories and the idea that I could pick whichever one I liked the most. I enjoyed the feeling of limitlessness. The large, open space with books everywhere. As a child who didn’t have control over much in life, the experience of choosing what I liked and wanted to know more about, was everything.
While the kids and young people may not know it, there’s a book that may have been truly perfect for them. Maybe there’s something they’d be able to deeply resonate with. A situation or lifestyle that reflects their home life.
Because of the Midland County Commissioner they’ll just never know.
Although parents may be concerned about what’s accessible to their children, the consideration of how some kids may be able to relate to the stories being removed is necessary. It’s in books that we can sometimes find comfort in the life experiences we’re going through. You never know what will have a long lasting impression on someone.
You never know what they need to hear or see.