UPDATE: Still Spinning in Llano

As we covered last April, citizens from Llano County, Texas, filed suit against the county and several public servants for breach of their First and Fourteenth amendment rights. In December of 2021 the Llano County Library System closed all three branches for three days to remove “pornographic filth” from the library shelves. They also allegedly disabled the online digital platform depriving patrons from access to thousands of books in the interest of removing access to a handful of books.

There has been movement forward in the Little et. al. v. Llano County et. al. case in the past few weeks. October 28 and 31, a U.S. District Judge heard oral arguments for a preliminary injunction.

A preliminary injunction is a court order that seeks to maintain the status quo until the case goes to trial.

While the court date is set for October 23, 2023, the oral arguments last month were for a preliminary injunction to mitigate the potential harm that can be done until then. This particular injunction seeks the following solutions.

  • Returning all the books removed back to the shelves within 24 hours.
  • Returning the books to the catalog listing. (currently unsearchable)
  • Restoring all the digital copies of the books.
  • Ensuring the Advisory Board meetings are kept open to the public.
  • If a book is removed, there must be a record of who removed it and for what reason.

The library has already paused buying or weeding books until the case is settled next October. Currently twelve books have been removed for depicting sexual conduct or containing materials harmful to minors. This selection of books includes the Eisner Award-winning graphic novel Spinning by Tillie Walden, Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart, and the heavily illustrated sexual education book It’s Perfectly Normal by Robbie Harris and Michael Emberley. None of these books are “pornographic filth” and are likely targeted for the subject matter inside, which includes LGBTQ+ relationships, domestic abuse, and sexual assault.

Weeding is a method in which a book is removed due to being damaged, containing out of date information, or having low circulation.

As has been stated many times, public libraries are for the community and must appeal to all members. It is the responsibility of parents to monitor what their children read. The few cannot dictate for the many if we want to respect our rights.

We will be following this case and providing updates as it progresses.

CBLDF and its partners have been battling ongoing and organized attempts to censor comics and other books in schools and libraries. You can join the struggle by making a donation or reporting censorship today!