Colorado Town Has A Plan To Tackle Censorship: Banning Book Bans

The town board's decision came after some residents called for a ban of library books they'd described as "pornographic materials."

A group of residents who showed concerns about books in a Colorado library last month have sparked a ban they did not foresee this week: a ban on book bans.

The Wellington town board voted 5-2 to pass a resolution that barred the board from restricting access to materials at the Wellington Public Library on Tuesday, The Coloradoan reported.

The move followed an August town board meeting where residents, led by town board member Jon Gaiter’s wife, Christine Gaiter, referred to books ― what she called “pornographic materials” ― she said weren’t suitable for kids.

Gaiter’s list of 19 books included “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky, according to the newspaper.

Gaiter told the board on Tuesday that she wanted restrictions on children accessing the books, not a book ban, but some residents said in August that they did want a ban.

A “majority” of residents “packed” a board room to support the resolution that would ban book bans on Tuesday, according to The Coloradoan.

“Not to be rude, but you can’t tell me what I can and can’t read,” Sienna Zadina, a young resident, told the board.

The library’s action against book bans comes as the number of attempted bans and restrictions this year have already approached the total challenges to books in 2021, the American Library Association said on Friday.

Conservative criticism toward libraries and schools have “proliferated” and have led to funding cuts and harassment of librarians in the last two years, The Associated Press reported.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, who serves as director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said she hasn’t seen anything like the number of attempted book bans this year.

“It used to be a parent had learned about a given book and had an issue with it,” Caldwell-Stone said. “Now we see campaigns where organizations are compiling lists of books, without necessarily reading or even looking at them.”

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