For Banned Book Week, Harris County Public Library says it will provide access to hundreds of books banned across the state of Texas.
On Sept. 19, Harris County Commissioners Court passed a resolution making Harris County Public Library a "book sanctuary" system that combats censorship. The move came after 67 books were banned in Houston-area school districts, such as Katy ISD, this year alone.
Texas itself has the most banned books of any state in the country, with over 800 banned books across 22 school districts.
"Our largest school district, HISD, has turned libraries in over 50 schools into ‘discipline centers,' which led to the displacement of many librarians," said Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis at the West University Branch of the Harris County Public Library on Monday. "We need to do as much as we can to protect and promote libraries and librarians."
Harris County Public Library currently carries over 600 banned titles, including books like Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and Art Spiegelman's Maus.
"In a community as diverse as Harris County, it really is important for us to make sure that we have the rights and liberty to read what we want to," said Edward Melton, director of Harris County Public Library. "A lot of books in themselves serve as a sanctuary for people."
Melton said, while the library does have a book review process of its own, books would only ever be removed if they were found to contain a substantial amount of untrue or inaccurate information.
"We haven't run into any situation where we've really felt like the material should be removed from our collection. It would have to be something very inaccurate or not true for us to remove a title," said Melton. "We wouldn't remove a title just because someone complained about the diversity of the content."
Find your local branch of the Harris County Public Library here.