The Freedom to Read is a Right and Must be Protected
The Texas Library Association (TLA) holds that the freedom to read is a human right, protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. TLA believes that individuals have the right to free inquiry and the equally important right to form their own opinions. Freedom in selecting materials is a necessary safeguard to the freedom to read and shall be protected against irresponsible attempts by self-appointed censors to abridge it.
Therefore, TLA opposes efforts that restrict the freedom to read through banning, removing, or other forms of restricting access to books or other materials.
There has been a substantial increase in censorship activity in Texas, particularly in public schools, due in part to recent legislation passed by the Texas Legislature restricting education related to history and racism.
In Texas, school boards determine policies for each school district, and professional educators follow these policies to determine what reading and instructional materials are selected to support the curriculum.
Libraries have reconsideration policies and procedures in place which have been approved by their governing bodies. It is critically important that these policies and procedures be followed each time a request is made to remove a book or other resource from the library.
Professional librarians receive extensive education and ongoing training to qualify them to develop collections which meet the broad and varied interests and needs of their communities. Collection decisions are not made based on personal likes, dislikes, or beliefs.
Circumventing established reconsideration processes due to media reports or social media outrage results in reactionary decisions that are not in the best interest of the community. A parent has the right to determine what is best for their child, not what is best for every child.
TLA, and our almost 5,000 members, will continue to support and defend the right to read.
Approved by TLA Executive Board, October 26, 2021