A school librarian is asked to remove the display of banned books
A school librarian has gone viral on TikTok after claiming her school administration asked her to take down a Banned Books Week exhibit at the request of a parent.
In a video with over 855,000 views, user Mia (@miarwilson3), a Texas-based librarian at a Belton ISD college, claims she was approached by her principal the day before school started. During this confrontation, he told her that she had to take down an exhibit featuring banned books in honor of Banned Books Week, which ran from September 18 to 24.
@miarwilson3 I am painfully aware of the irony of being asked to take down a display of banned books #librarybooktok ♬ original sound – Mia | books + lifestyle
Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of “freedom to read,” which is honored by highlighting literature that has been frequently challenged. Banned Books Week is supported by many groups like the American Library Association (ALA), American Society of Journalists and Authors, Amnesty International USA and others.
In response to this request, Mia informed the principal that she would not be removing the posting, as she serves “over 700 students, not a single student.” Additionally, she informed the manager that celebrating forbidden books week was part of their ALA standards.
“…Most libraries around the world are celebrating Banned Books Week,” she says in the video.
The principal then asked Mia to “keep things academic.” Mia then asked if that meant she had to delete her other screens, which featured topics such as superheroes. The principal would have had no response besides remarking that he hadn’t really noticed the postings and that his request was only an attempt to get in the good graces of the parents.
Mia says she then informed the principal that the school has a process in place for singular book removal requests and that she can help with the process if the parent wishes.
“It’s not about taking away the autonomy of a parent,” she explains in the video. “Your child certainly doesn’t need to read these books. However, it is an opportunity to educate, inform and educate children when they might not otherwise have them.
At this point in the conversation, Mia started crying, to which the manager reportedly replied that it was okay to be upset.
“I’m not angry,” she says she replied. “I’m enraged…I’m enraged because people want to take away books that largely feature marginalized people!”
Mia then showcased the full Banned Books Week display in another video.
@miarwilson3 In reply to @Tara ♬ original sound – Mia | books + lifestyle
Some of the titles featured include “Bridge to Terabithia”, “Twilight”, “A Complicated Love Story Set in Space”, and others.
The specific reasons for the ban vary. Among the most overt issues revealed by Mia in her video are the themes of “sexually explicit,” “LGBTQIA,” “woke,” and “critical race theory,” an amorphous conspiracy theory that has gained traction in conservative circles. Last year.
Mia’s story follows several other stories about conservative groups attempting to censor literature in American public schools.
Earlier this year, The Guardian reported that “conservative groups across the United States, often linked to deep-pocketed right-wing donors, are waging a campaign to ban books from school libraries, often focusing on works that address race, LGBTQ issues or marginalized communities”.
“Groups claiming to be ‘grassroots’ efforts have frequently led the charge, asking school boards or elected officials to remove certain books,” writes author Adam Gabbatt. “Although some of these organizations present themselves as a grassroots effort that sprung up around groups of parents united behind a cause, many of the groups involved in the book ban are actually linked and supported by influential conservative donors. “
These groups seem to operate by investing money in information campaigns and promoting their figureheads through traditional conservative channels.
As an example, the article cites Parents Defending Education Vice President Asra Nomani, who “appeared on Fox News to protest certain books, including ‘Woke Baby’ and ‘Gender Queer,’ which are in Virginia Libraries.
Also, despite marketing itself as a “grassroots organization,” the group has documented ties to “pocket-sized conservative money and influence,” according to Gabbatt.
The work of Parents Defending Education and other similar groups has been effective. In Texas, where Mia is based, “books about race and sexuality are disappearing from…schools in record numbers,” BNC News writing.
“Requests for records sent to nearly 100 school districts in the Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin areas – a small sample of the state’s 1,250 public school systems – revealed 75 formal requests from parents or the community to ban books from libraries in the first four months of this school year,” details author Mike Hixenbaugh. “By comparison, only one library book challenge has been filed in these districts during the same time period. a year earlier, according to the records.”
Mia’s neighborhood is among those affected, she reveals in a follow-up.
@miarwilson3 In reply to @Lin 📚 ♬ original sound – Mia | books + lifestyle
“This problem is not just happening on my campus in my district. This is happening throughout our school district, not just in high schools but also in elementary schools,” she shares. “Right now we have six books that have been censored by our district administration team at one of our high schools.”
This video also provides an update on his situation with the principal. Mia claims the principal spoke to her to look into the matter, with the two remaining firm in their positions. The principal also reportedly contacted the parent concerned to speak directly with the librarian. The parent seemed opposed to the idea and insisted that the principal do something on his own, Mia says the principal told her.
A representative from Mia’s school told the Daily Dot they could not comment specifically on the incident.
“At Belton ISD, we strive to provide exceptional learning experiences for every student and employee to feel valued, supported and engaged,” they said. “We cannot comment on specific personnel issues. If an employee has a problem at work, they are always encouraged to follow the process outlined in our policies. »
Mia’s banned book saga sparked a firestorm after it was posted on TikTok, with many users jumping into the comments to show their support.
“How enraged that a parent thinks his opinion should change the library for the whole school,” one user wrote.
“A way to hold your ground and communicate your position,” another shared. “It’s so important.”
Naturally, many pointed to the irony of trying to suppress a Banned Books exhibit, demonstrating the importance of Banned Books Week in the first place.
As one user wrote, “The fact that they want to ban books and censor them is the exact reason why Banned Book Week is so important.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Mia by phone and email.