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Some states are changing the laws that govern community libraries : NPR

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Heard on Morning Edition, By Jim Zarroli, June 21, 20225:12 AM ET

Attempts to ban books in school districts around the country have increased in recent years. Now, some states are working on enacting laws to give politicians more power over public libraries.
Rick Bowmer/AP

When the Kentucky Legislature started mulling a bill that would tighten control over public libraries earlier this year, librarians across the state called their lawmakers pushing for its defeat.

In the past, legislators would at least have heard them out, says Jean Ruark, chair of the advocacy committee of the Kentucky Library Association. Not this time.”

It seemed as though our efforts fell on deaf ears. There was a big outcry about the passage of that and they did it anyway,” Ruark says.

At a time when public school libraries have increasingly become targets in the culture wars, some red states are going further, proposing legislation aimed at libraries serving the community as a whole. A few of the bills would open librarians up to legal liability over decisions they make.

While some of these bills have quietly died in committee, others have been signed into law, and librarians worry that the increasingly partisan climate is making them vulnerable to political pressure.

Source: Some states are changing the laws that govern community libraries : NPR