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Bill gives parents ability to review books headed to school library

Parents would be given at least 60 days to review the books before the school can purchase them.
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 6:40 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A bill giving parents the ability to review books going into school libraries was approved by the Arizona Senate Education Committee this week.

“My intent on this bill is to give transparency to parents so they know what books are coming new into a library,” said Rep. Beverly Pingerelli, R-Peoria, the sponsor of the bill.

Retired school librarian Susan Gabbs says otherwise.

“Censorship is exactly what they’re talking about doing. Censorship is denying people the right to individual inquiry. Libraries are there for individual inquiry,” she said.

Gabbs was involved with a committee at the Tucson Unified School District , made up of staff and parents, who were trained to review books when parents raised concerns.

“If they feel it’s so egregious then ask for a review process but when parents are making decisions for everyone it’s like stepping into someone’s house and telling them how to run their family,” she said.

Gabbs said libraries are meant to give people the freedom to choose what they want to read.

“Represent all views, all races, all of everything that makes this country what it is,” she said. “By denying that we are eliminating access to education and equality.”

The Arizona Library Association says the bill undermines the expertise of school librarians, since parents could then take concerns to a governing board and potentially remove, effectively banning, a book. .

“We have librarians who are qualified and trained who have gone years through processes to get knowledge to do this,” Erin MacFarlane, the legislative committee chair for the Arizona Library Association.

Parents would be given at least 60 days to review the books before the school can purchase them. The bill only applies to schools who have a librarian.

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