Book ban and censorship explained locally

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) – During the Virginia governor race, censorship and book bans became a hot topic, with some school boards questioning the content of certain material.

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

dr. Jennifer Brown, director of the Augusta County Library, said that sometimes people bring a book to the attention of staff if they don’t agree with its contents.

“People come to the library to take books from our collection, mainly because if they object to the content, they think it harms other people as well,” Brown said.

She said those objections often have to do with content: sexual examples or ideology.

When a person brings an issue to their attention, 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 don’t decide to take the book away because we think libraries should have all kinds of books and ideologies in their collections,” Brown said.

She said most libraries often operate on two principles: intellectual freedom and the freedom to read. She said everyone should decide what they want to read, not that choice is taken away by a library.

“By taking books out of our collection, we really take away the freedom to choose and for individuals to make those choices for themselves,” Brown said.

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

“By offering material from a diverse range of experiences, especially in our non-fiction collection and our autobiographies, we are essentially creating a window into those experiences. People can explore those experiences and identities and diversity in a safe way,” said Brown.

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

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