Shelby County has different process for banning books

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Banned Book Week is such a big deal that some school libraries have put up displays letting students know their libraries aren’t censored.

But there are some books on that list that might surprise many people. Books written by J.K. Rowling and Maya Angelou are in the top 10 in the most banned or challenged book list.

Across the country, many works of literature are either banned or censored because of their subject matter.

In some places, books like Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” or Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird” are so controversial that school districts have taken them off the required reading lists for students.

However, that’s not the case for Shelby County.

“We currently do not have any books that are on a banned book list,” said Cindy Warner with Shelby County Schools.

Instead of a county-wide list, Warner says Shelby County deals with challenged books on a school level.

A committee picked from the community makes the ultimate decision on the works, not the school board.

“That entire committee would read the book in full to decide whether or not they felt there was anything controversial or inappropriate about the book,” said Warner.

Some people in the county find it surprising that a banned book list even exists.

“As far as banning books, the kids will be able to read them anyways. You ban them from the school, they can go somewhere and get the book,” Jose Gonzales said.

He says he grew up reading many of the books on the list, and reading is something he thinks should not be taken away from any child.

“I don’t agree with [banning books] at all. Let them read. Let them open their minds,” Gonzales added.

In the end, it’s up to school library specialists and the county library supervisor to make sure all literature is age-level appropriate for all of the Shelby County Schools.

Click here for a link to the American Library Association.

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