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Your Right to Read is Fundamental

Texas leads the nation in book banning. That's not 'everything is bigger in Texas' hyperbole. It is fact, and that should worry you no matter where you stand on the socio-political spectrum. Why? Because removing books from library shelves is an assault on your freedom to think for yourself. Book bans limit your access to ideas and information, and, because the current wave of book bans in Texas and elsewhere overwhelmingly targets authors from historically marginalized communities, primarily people of color and LGBTQ+ authors, they prevent large portions of the community from seeing themselves and their life-experiences reflected in library collections while at the same time denying those outside those groups the opportunity to learn and understand experiences they may not share. With book banning, everyone loses.

In the popular imagination, Texas has always stood for individualism and freedom and a 'live and let live' attitude. Book bans fly in the face of traditional Texas values. HCPL encourages you to join us in efforts to preserve your right to read.

Harris County Public Library has put together several collections in observance of Banned Books Week 2022. Celebrate your right to read with Harris County Public Library.

Click or tap the link or the image to see the full Banned Books Week Collection
These Books Were Banned?
& Challenged
Books, Y'all!
Banned & Challenged
Comic Books
Teen Edition
Kids Edition
Cover of Orwell's 1984 Cover The Hate U Give Cover - Dragon Ball No. 11 cover of Harry.Potter Cover I am Martin Luther King Jr

HCPL on News 88.7's Town Square, Thursday, Sept 22, 3 PM

Amber Seely, Harris County Public Library's Division Director of Collections and Technical Services discussed Banned Book Weeks and Harris County Public Library collections on Houston Public Media's Town Square with Ernie Manouse on September 22. Listen here.

Town Square with Ernie Manouse banner ad
Click or tap image to Listen to Town Square: Banned Books and the Impact on our Society

What is Banned Book Week?

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. 

What is the difference between a 'challenged book' and a banned one?

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view - they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. 

Libraries use the term “Banned Books Week”  because it is an attention-getter, but we are really celebrating the freedom to read and free access to ideas and stories, and the need for all of us to be vigilant to preserve that freedom.

Houston Public Media

Harris County libraries have the majority of the state's banned books available to borrow >> READ MORE

Houston Public Media Headline about Banned Books Week at HCPL

KHOU 11 News

Harris County leaders working to change the narrative on banned books >> WATCH NOW

HCPL Executive Director Edward Melton speaks at the Banned Books Week Press Conference - West U Branch





You do realize that any of these books Texas has banned are available to purchase online pretty much anywhere, right? And that the banned books are sanctioned by taxpaying voters, right? So essentially, the majority wants the books banned in our FREE, public libraries. Meanwhile, they are easily accessible on Spend the $8 and get whatever you want.


The statement that "the majority" wants these books banned is very debatable. See this poll and this article. Even if we accept it as true, why should the majority be able to dictate the information and materials available at the library? That seems to go against the very priniciples on which this country was founded. History has time and time again shown us that the majority is fallible. As a public library, our mission is to make a wide selection of materials available to patrons so that patrons can choose for themselves. The right to read as one chooses is as fundamental as the right to speak and think as one chooses.

As for banned books availability on Amazon, not everyone is lucky enough, especially in these hard economic times, to have the financial means to purchase books. The public library is for everyone. Amazon is for everyone who can afford it.

Thank you for your comment. Dialogue is important.

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