Book ban and censorship locally, explained

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) – During Virginia’s gubernatorial race, censorship and book bans became a popular topic, with some school boards raising questions about the content of any material.

As a result, many asked questions about what the process is when questioning a book.

Dr. Jennifer Brown, director of the Augusta County Library, said that sometimes people will bring a book to staff attention when they disagree with the content.

“People come to the library to pick up books from our collection primarily because if they protest the content, then they think it’s harmful to other people as well,” Brown said.

She said these objections often focus on content: sexual cases or ideology.

When a person raises a concern, they form a committee to review the content. In the end, Brown said they usually choose to leave the book on the shelf.

“Most libraries do not decide to pull the book because we believe libraries should have all kinds of books and ideologies in their collections,” Brown said.

She said most libraries often operate under two principles: intellectual freedom and freedom to read. She said each person should decide what they want to read, not get that choice deprived of a library.

“By pulling books from our collection, what we really take away is the freedom to choose and for individuals to make those choices for themselves,” Brown said.

For children’s books, she said it is up to the parents to make that choice. She said books help people understand each other.

“By providing materials that have a wide range of experiences, especially in our non-fiction collection and our autobiographies, what we really do is create a window to these experiences. People can explore these experiences and identities and diversity in a safe way, ”Brown said.

She said The Hate U Give, Harry Potter and To Kill a Mockingbird are books that are often brought up for review.

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