From Marfa Public Radio:
As Midland’s Centennial Library opened on a recent Saturday, Midland County Commissioner Dianne Anderson arrived with a few friends to take books out of the public library’s teen section.
She quietly gave out instructions, “Go through a book, read it and if you feel like it needs to be pulled out you pull it out and you show it to me.”
For months, Anderson has spearheaded an effort to restrict books found in the children’s and young adult sections at county libraries that she and her allies deem obscene and inappropriate. Anderson claims she’s not banning books, she just wants to put them out of reach of impressionable readers.
This is her second visit to the library in the last few weeks. She first surprised librarians on Aug. 30 when she led a group of around 12 people into the children’s section during story time to remove dozens of books.
The group took titles like “An ABCs of Equality,” “Antiracist Baby” and “My Two Dads and Me” off library shelves. They were loosely guided by a pre-prepared list with a wide range of titles including many focused on the LGBTQ community, social issues and sex education.
Their picks were stacked on a library cart that was locked in a back room. As of last week, some of those books still haven’t been returned to shelves, according to Midland County Library Director Debbie Garza.
On their return trip in September, Anderson and supporters didn’t want to say what they were looking for. One of those present, Cathie Broten, refused to explain why she was there after taking the book “A Court of Silver Flames” off the shelf. “Back off, this is private business!” she exclaimed.
But this is a public library. There is a process in which citizens can request that librarians remove or recategorize material and these self-appointed censors don’t have the authority to remove books on a whim.