This World Book Day, Republicans Continue to Push Extreme Book Bans & Threaten Librarians

WASHINGTON — Today is World Book Day, a day reserved to celebrate reading and books. However, the day takes on a darker tone in the U.S. this year given books are under unprecedented attack amid Republican school culture wars. Last year alone, Republican state legislators and school districts passed bans that impacted over 1,500 books. As if that isn’t extreme enough, at least 100 bills are being considered across 27 states this year to further restrict books and criminalize librarians and classroom discussion.

Here’s a look at the Republicans’ 10 latest extreme book bans in the states:

1. Republican proposals in Wisconsin would have forced librarians to notify parents about what books their children check out. The books already banned by some Wisconsin school districts include “The Kite Runner,” “Beloved,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

2. Georgia Republicans pushed bills that would have subjected school librarians to criminal penalties for violating extreme book bans.

3. A GOP legislator in West Virginia introduced a bill that would have allowed librarians to be prosecuted for giving so-called “obscene” titles to minors – resulting in censorship. The legislation was intentionally vague and could have impacted popular series like “Twilight.”

4. Texas’ book ban law is so broad that it could ban beloved classics such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Of Mice and Men.” A federal appeals court blocked the law in January.

5. Last year, a law in Florida went into effect that allows parents and citizens to petition for books to be removed from classrooms. This sweeping law caused Florida to have the highest number of book bans of any state.

6. North Carolina’s classroom censorship law has caused serious confusion in schools across the state. Last year, the most challenged books in the Tar Heel State included those featuring themes around race/racism and those that featured LGBTQ+ characters like “Looking for Alaska” by John Green, “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson, “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, and the graphic novel “Flamer” by Mike Curato.

7. Republicans in Alabama proposed bills that could remove free speech protections for librarians.

8. South Carolina publishers would be burdened with rating books under a GOP-proposed system aimed at making it easier to ban books.

9. In Pennsylvania, Republicans advanced legislation to require schools to provide a list of books with “explicit content,” paving the way for future book bans.

10. Idaho Republicans revived a vetoed bill that seeks to keep “harmful” materials away from minors this year, in a move that will target LGBTQ+ people.

In direct contrast to Republican leadership, Democrats are leading the fight against book bans. 

1. Democrats in the New Hampshire House helped defeat a bill that would have allowed the state Board of Education to remove books from schools.

2. Democrats in ConnecticutMinnesotaMassachusetts, New Mexico, and Kansas have introduced bills to combat book bans this year.

3. Democratic power in Oregon and Washington allowed both of their Senate chambers to pass bills that would prohibit school districts from passing book bans simply because the author or characters are under a protected class.

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Communications Director Abhi Rahman issued the following statement:

“This World Book Day is a reminder of the fundamental role that books play in educating kids and bringing learning to all generations. Unfortunately, books are under unprecedented attack in the U.S. amid Republican culture wars, undermining classroom discussion around important topics like race, sexuality, and gender identity. Classrooms should be environments that encourage learning and exploration – not authoritarian spaces that stifle discussion. Book bans are censorship – point blank – which threatens our very democracy. Republicans will find themselves on the wrong side of history with these dangerous culture wars, and Democrats in the states are fighting back.”

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) is the official Democratic Party committee dedicated to winning America’s state legislatures and building state infrastructure. Over the last decade, we have fought cycle-over-cycle to gain a dozen new legislative chamber majorities and we are leading the effort to bring national attention and investment to our ballot level. State legislatures are the building blocks of our democracy and have the closest connections to Americans’ day-to-day lives. From protecting fundamental freedoms and voting rights to growing the middle class, the DLCC and state legislators are moving the Democratic agenda forward and shaping the future of this country.

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