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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

Covering the Bronco Nation.

The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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Book Bans Shape Library Book Approval System

Olivia+Douglass%2C+12%2C+pulls+a+book+from+the+library.
Olivia Douglass, 12, pulls a book from the library.

 

In order to purchase new books for the library, the campus librarian must ensure the book has already been approved by the board, or, if not, go through the approval process, which can take 30-45 days.

Book challenges and bans are hot debate topics that shaped the new system school librarians must go through to purchase new books for the libraries. Though sometimes interchanged, challenging a book means that someone has brought complaints against it, while banning a book means the removal of material. Ms. Pamela Pinkerton, the Coordinator of Library Services for Mansfield ISD, reads through lists of requested books to ensure they follow the Mansfield ISD School Board content guidelines developed with TASB guidance.

“I am not a fan of the phrase “book bans” because it has a very negative connotation,” Ms. Pinkerton said. “Every librarian is dedicated to serving the needs of every student on their campus. Our district library motto is literacy, exploration and connections for all.”

Changes to the district Library Book Selection policy include the school board approving all new books purchased and new content guidelines to define what cannot be in the books. Books already in libraries, if challenged, will be reviewed based on these guidelines as well. No books have been removed from the MISD libraries.

“Every librarian has always given every parent complete control over what their child can/cannot checkout,” Ms. Pinkerton said. “In my 22 years as a librarian, a simple phone call to the librarian is all that it has ever taken for the parent to place limits on what their child can check out.”

The new process doubled the amount of time it takes from ordering a book to being in a student’s hands or on a shelf. There is a 45-day delay in books being approved by the school board before they are ordered. When ordering new books, librarians analyze the collection to determine what needs to be purchased. They also consider student and teacher requests, new titles published every month and award lists.

“I support every student’s right to read books that are age-appropriate and meet their needs,” Ms. Pinkerton said. “I also support the right for every parent to partner with the librarians to control what their child can read.”

Within the literary community, and at a state level, changes are being made to content guidelines and rankings for authors, publishers and companies. Texas passed HB900 which would require book vendors to rate books that are “sexually relevant” and “sexually explicit.” Sophomore Emily Nguyen spends 20 hours a week reading.

“I feel the literacy culture these days focuses more on history and heartwarming, inspirational books,” Nguyen said. “There is nothing wrong with the books we read, but I do feel some of the banned books can still be educational and appropriate, especially for high schoolers.”

 

In 2022, the state of Texas attempted to restrict access to 93 books and challenged 2349 titles. The most challenged title, “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, was challenged by a MISD parent on Dec. 13, 2022, but remained in the district libraries.

“I feel that book bans and challenges can affect students negatively,” Nguyen said. “To Kill a Mockingbird highlights the differences in race and how it can cause injustice in society, which I think can be interesting and educational for children to see, yet it is banned in many schools.”

As books gained more attention, Mansfield ISD hired Ms. Pinkerton from the Legacy Library to work as the District Coordinator of Library Services. She can now commit fully to administrative activities and supervision of the libraries.

“My new job has been an adjustment, but I am thriving in my new role,” Ms. Pinkerton said. “It is a position that has been needed for a while and the administrative workload as the lead librarian was beginning to take up the majority of my time.”

About the Contributor
Katie Keating, News Editor
Hi! My name is Katie, and I'm a sophomore at Legacy. I'm the Student Body Secretary for StuCo, and I'm so excited to be a part of the newspaper staff this year.
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