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Florida leads the nation with banned books; controversial titles still available in Tallahassee

Posted at 6:17 PM, Oct 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-05 18:18:38-04
  • It's National Banned Books week
  • Organizations and businesses in Tallahassee are divided over restricting literature access
  • Watch the video to hear from County members and local businesses owners share their thoughts

Scripps News reports from July 2022 to June 2023, there were more than 3,300 individual book bans in U.S. public school libraries and classrooms.

A group called PEN America said Florida had the most instances of books banned, followed by Texas.

One locally owned book shop shines a light on the literature.

Midtown Reader is an independent bookstore in town. This week, they are participating in National Banned Books week.

"Give people the opportunity to still read these books," said Kristin Kehl.

Kehl is the general manager of Midtown Reader, and an advocate for reading widely.

"I think there's so many different books out there for so many different reasons," said Kehl.

Kehl said she was surprised when books like "I am Billie Jean King" have been called into question earlier this year by a concerned parent because of references to her sexuality. She said me it's a childrens book that highlights different people in history.

"That one surprised me a little bit, but I'm glad to see the restrictions were lifted," said Kehl.

Books like this and others across the state have been placed under the microscope by parents and organizations like Moms for Liberty. They've been involved in restricting books in school classrooms. I contacted Chair for Leon County, Priscilla West who said in a statement that no one is trying to ban books but she wants to protect young children.

"Parents have the right to introduce mature topics to their own children on their own timeline," said West.

Pamela Monroe, Library Director for LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library System, explained how the community tackles these restrictions.

"We've never banned any books, no," said Monroe.

Monroe said this is important in her role as the public library is community driven and meant to cater to different perspectives. One of the focuses at the Lake Jackson Branch.

She has a wonderful opposing viewpoints display right now that's showing cats vs dogs, something as simple as that," said Monroe. "But also, some of our displays are love across the ages."

She explained why variety is important.

"It's eye opening," said Monroe.

Whatever your preference, as October is National Book Month, these organizations are encouraging you to pick up a book and read.