The House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee approved a bill aimed at preventing public libraries from banning library materials based on dogma.
HB 123 aims to prevent public libraries from receiving funding if they do not adopt the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights which includes a requirement that library materials not be removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval based on the author’s race, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation or political or religious views.
“We have been, in this country, under attack by a lot of requests to ban books that would circumvent the already established process in place to be able to review the validity of having books in our public library,” bill sponsor Rep. Kathleen Cates, D-Rio Rancho, said.
Library patrons would still be able to challenge library materials.
To challenge library materials is to ask for a review of materials so they could be removed or restricted from a public library.
An example would be if a Stephen King adult fiction book was shelved in the junior fiction section.
The bill was approved on a party-line vote of 4-to-2 with Rep. John Block, R-Alamogordo, and Rep. Stefani Lord, R-Sandia Park, voting against the bill.
The bill goes to the House Education Committee next.