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A Texas librarian was fired after refusing to remove ‘pornographic’ books from shelves

The head librarian at a branch in Llano County was fired this month after refusing to remove books a group of local residents complained were “pornographic” and “inappropriate.” The librarian, Suzette Baker, told KXAN News that she was terminated from her position after her boss gave her a final warning for “creating a disturbance, insubordination, violation of policies and failure to follow instructions.”

“The books in my library in Kingsland were not taken off the shelves, we did not move them, I told my boss that was censorship,” Baker told KXAN, adding that one of the books targeted was about the life of a transgender teen. “It is her biography of her life growing up … Obviously this group thought that was too much for their children to read. Which no one is forcing their kids to read anything.”

A patron of the library upset about the firing named Leila Green Little told KXAN changes at the county library have happened without transparency, pointing to library advisory board meetings being closed to the public. The library system’s online reading service was also recently changed without notice, she said.

“I have now counted 12 books that I know have been removed from Llano County Library, and I can’t get clarification from the library system on why,” Little told KXAN. “There are very clear rules that should be followed with regards to censorship to books in the public library, those rules were not followed.”

The branch was closed for three days this past December while staff conducted a review of every children’s book to ensure their content was age-appropriate after receiving complaints from local residents, according to the Texas Tribune.

Book challenges at public libraries in the Lone Star State are on the rise, coinciding with a push from conservatives to censor content about race, gender and sexuality in school and libraries across Texas and around the country, oftentimes at the expense of librarians and educators. Earlier this month, an assistant principal at a Mississippi elementary school was fired after he read the children’s book “I Need a New Butt!” to a second grade class.

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