Longview ISD superintendent explains how library books are regulated


LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) — One of the topics of discussion at the last Longview ISD board meeting was the review of books ordered for schools in the district. The head librarian presented a report to the board that included any books the board might deem inappropriate.

Longview ISD Superintendent James Wilcox says the scrutiny of district library books is nothing new.

“We’ve pulled books from the shelves in the last sixteen and a half years that I’ve been here,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox says their head librarian, Kimberly Shadowens, reviewed all of the book titles ordered for the school this year and provided a report to the school board.

“Sometimes people get a little nonchalant and individual books slip through. When they are found, we take them out of circulation,” Wilcox said.

Although the head librarian found at least one questionable book that had been ordered, the district says no books have been removed this year.

“The books are checked before being ordered. Some companies, they’ll just have, “we recommend these X titles for freshman, sophomore, or high school,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox says that over the years, sometimes a dodgy book comes in a bundle of books.

“When we feel something is inappropriate; is that what we would want for our child? And so, we pull those books,” Wilcox said.

LISD has an online K-12 card catalog available to families in the district. Wilcox says the head librarian uses this list to review titles. However, it is not necessarily true that every book should be read in full before making a decision.

“No. If it’s a dodgy title, that’s good enough,” Wilcox said.

He says a notification is sent to the appropriate campus when a book is identified.

“And, the manager and the staff say well, you know, it’s something that slipped through the cracks, and it’s not something that I want my child to read, and it’s not something something I want your child to read. And then it’s not burned or banned, it’s just taken down, and then you have to have a parental request for it to be verified,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox says the book came out and “put on the ‘must ask’ list, and that ‘must ask’ list is with parental approval.”

“But, sixteen and a half, we’ve never had one of those requests here at Longview,” Wilcox said.

He says they haven’t received any complaints about their library books from parents, and Wilcox wants that to continue.

“If it specifically deals with alternative lifestyles or sexual preferences, then it’s not something we want our students to read on our watch. Their parents can provide them with any kind of material they want, but if it gets to us, we want to make sure it’s appropriate,” Wilcox said.

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