Florida bans more books from its public school libraries and classrooms than any other state in the country, according to a new report from PEN America released on Thursday.
After parents in a rural and staunchly conservative Wyoming county joined nationwide pressure on librarians to pull books they considered harmful to youngsters, the local library board obliged with new policies making such books a higher priority for removal — and keeping out of collections.
Book bans have been surging across the country, but in Florida, school boards across the state have been purging their shelves following the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
PEN America, along with Penguin Random House publishing, select authors and parents of children enrolled in Florida’s Escambia County School District filed a federal lawsuit against the district and its board May 17 requesting banned books and those under review be returned to library shelves.
Virginia is among the top 10 states in book banning conflicts, according to a PEN America study. There, the ongoing battle has led most recently to a state judge throwing out a decades-old state obscenity law that had the effect of imposing a prior restraint on book distributors. And it stirred widespread opposition including one of the largest booksellers in the nation, Barnes & Noble.