Freedom to Read Foundation Files Amicus Brief in Support of Llano County Texans’ Lawsuit Challenging County’s Library Book Censorship

For Immediate Release
Fri, 06/02/2023


Shawnda Hines

Deputy Director, Communications

Public Policy and Advocacy

Freedom to Read Foundation Files Amicus Brief in Support of Llano County Texans’ Lawsuit Challenging County’s Library Book Censorship

The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) today filed an amicus curiae brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Leila Green Little, et al. v. Llano County, et al., a lawsuit filed by several citizens of Llano County, Texas, to challenge the Llano County government’s decision to remove a large number of books from the Llano County Library shelves because certain library users, county residents, and county officials complained that the books' contents were objectionable. The plaintiffs argue that the removal of books  from the library’s collection based upon a dislike or disapproval for the ideas or topics addressed in the book violates the plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to access those books in the library.  

On March 30, 2023, the federal district court issued a preliminary injunction, ordering Llano County officials to return the censored books to the library shelves and to make them available through the library’s catalog.  Llano County officials have appealed that decision, arguing that they are entitled to remove any books they wish based on their disapproval of the books’ viewpoints and content.

FTRF’s brief explains that librarians are guided by well-established ethical canons and standards that favor no party, subject, or viewpoint when curating a public library collection, and that assuring access to a broad range of information and ideas is in the highest tradition of public libraries and librarians. The brief further argues that as a matter of professional ethics and the law, no public library may target certain books for removal or restriction because they may be unpopular, controversial, or outside the mainstream.

FTRF President Peter Coyl said, "The Freedom to Read Foundation fully supports the Llano County Library patrons fighting for the right to read in their community. Ultimately, it is the voice of concerned citizens that will preserve First Amendment freedoms whenever and wherever they are under threat."

Joining FTRF on the brief are the American Library Association (ALA) and Texas Library Association (TLA). 

ALA President Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada said, “Librarians take seriously the legal and ethical commitment to manage library collections without partiality to a single viewpoint or idea. ALA stands with the court in upholding the core values of libraries, which mirror – and are historically protected by – the First Amendment.”

TLA Executive Board President Gretchen Pruett said, "The Texas Library Association stands with library advocates across the state to support and defend intellectual freedom, which is a core tenant of our democracy. Librarians are professionally trained to develop collections that meet the broad and varied needs of their communities. Attempts to circumvent processes and remove books is a violation of the First Amendment and the right of all citizens to form their own opinions."

About the Freedom to Read Foundation

Founded in 1969, the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) is a non-profit legal and educational organization affiliated with the American Library Association.  FTRF protects and defends the First Amendment to the Constitution and supports the right of libraries to collect—and individuals to access—information.

About the Texas Library Association

The Texas Library Association is the largest state library association in the country,  representing over 5,000 librarians with a mission to unite and amplify the voices of the library community through advocacy, education and intentional equity, diversity and inclusion.