Two Books Recommended for Removal from Local Library After Recent Passage of New Ordinance in Murfreesboro

Aug 23, 2023 at 04:44 pm by WGNS News

MURFREESBORO, TN - A new ordinance in Murfreesboro looks to be headed towards book banning, which is one of the red flags that was raised by the Vice Mayor of Murfreesboro, before the proposed ordinance was put to a vote.


In June, Murfreesboro Vice Mayor Bill Shacklett warned City Council members that a newly proposed ordinance could easily lead to police removing books from library shelves. Prior to the ordinance being passed, Shacklett said because our community is so diverse, deciding what books should be checked-out, should ultimately be up to parents...

Despite Shacklett raising red flags, the ordinance passed five to one, with Vice Mayor Shacklett being the only member to vote against it.

That new ordinance is now creating a lot of conversation after the Rutherford County Library System Board of Directors were asked to consider removing two books from their shelves. The board meets on August 28 and will be tasked with deciding on the recommended removal of at least two library books.

According to an article from MTSU's First Amendment Encyclopedia by Susan Webb, "Book banning is the most widespread form of censorship in the United States." The article also suggested the primary target is often children's literature. For the upcoming library board meeting, board members will be looking at the removal of two books that are under the section of young adult (ages 12 to 18).

The two books that were recommended for withdrawal were Let's Talk About It, by Erika Moen (Young Adult 306.7) and This Book is Gay, by Juno Dawson (Young Adult 306.766).

If the library board decides to keep the books on the bookshelves, the way the ordinance is written gives the City Manager or Chief of Police the authority to physically remove the books if the library board doesn't take action. Shacklett previously said...

The Ordinance states... That said, the Chief of Police could order a patrol officer to enter the library and physically remove a book or books.

According to the Rutherford County Library System as a whole, they leave the responsibility to the individual to choose appropriate reading or audiovisual material. For minors, rules on the library website clearly state “...responsibility lies with the parent or legal guardian.” The Library also states on their website, “Individual censorship may be exercised within the scope of the individual choosing materials for check out, but censorship or withholding of library materials for others within the community is not accepted within the institution of the public library.”

At the time of this report, Let's Talk About It (Young Adult 306.7) and This Book is Gay (Young Adult 306.766), were both checked out from the Linebaugh and Smyrna libraries. See the original news article about the ordinance HERE.

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