News & Updates

Read the latest news & updates from Texas Freedom to Read Project.

Stories from Deep in the Heart of Texas: Librarian Layoffs in Spring Branch ISD

On Friday my wife’s job as a teacher-librarian was cut, meaning she will be out of a librarian job when her contract runs out prior to the next school year. Every other teacher-librarian in the district met the same fate.

How to Break the Library

Today Katy ISD, a large suburban school district west of Houston, informed staff librarians they can no longer request to purchase books they have not read in their entirety. Katy ISD also informed staff librarians the district will begin publishing the name of the campuses next to the title of the book on the purchase order dashboard. 



What is Going on in La Grange ISD?

The Fayetteville County Record reported on January 30, 2024, that the La Grange ISD School Board voted to postpone a vote, on whether or not to permit the purchase of 4 library books, under their recently adopted library book acquisition policy. The books under fire are Class Act by Jerry Craft, Can I Touch Your Hair by Irene Latham, Finally Seen by Kelly Yang and Eyes of the Forest by April Henry. 

Stories from Deep in the Heart of Texas: The Empathy Playground

It was a cold Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday this year, and my family and I puttered around the house, snacking, working on puzzles, and reading library books. I had just sat down with a cup of coffee when my eight-year-old son walked up behind me and said in a quiet voice, “I just read about what happened to the Jews in Germany.”

What happens when serial challengers hijack the internal book review process

112 book titles were on the Katy ISD “internal review” cue between October 23, 2023 - January 11, 2024. 62 of those titles were submitted to the District for “internal review” by one parent.  

A district administrator told me that there is nothing unusual about sourcing “internal review” ideas from parents. However, as someone who has looked at thousands of emails about internal and formal book reviews in Katy ISD, I can tell you- this is not normal. 

A Great Day for Texas Book Lovers!

Texas Freedom to Read Project is thrilled that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in blocking HB900, has recognized and affirmed booksellers, librarians, teachers, and parents' concerns that the law violates the First Amendment. We thank BookPeople and Blue Willow Bookshop for their courage and tenacity in standing up against this unconstitutional law. This is a win for Texas students and a vindication of the freedom to read.

Texans Have a Freedom to Read

Texas is at the forefront of restricting one of the most fundamental rights we enjoy in the United States.

By passing laws like HB900, our politicians have decided it’s their job to legislate whose stories can be told, and what books we are allowed- and not allowed- to read. 

At the Texas Freedom to Read Project, we believe this notion to be fundamentally untrue.  To us, the First Amendment is essential to a free society.  The ability to freely exchange ideas, to speak out, to listen in return, to write and to read without the government telling us what we are or are not allowed to say or not say—that is true liberty.  

Katy ISD Comment Period

4 people—out of more than 360,000—could determine the books you and your students are allowed to have access to in the coming year.

New Research Shows Why the Freedom to Read Matters

Why do we fight for the freedom to read? One basic answer is that we’re both parents and readers. As readers, we remember being introduced to the power of libraries as young people, a power connected to a sense of possibility and the infinite. We remember growing under the trust that adults bestowed upon us, treading unsteadily into books that might have seemed beyond us but that eventually became some of our favorite books, books that we shared with our friends and returned to again and again.

And as parents we want that for our kids.

Stories from Deep In the Heart of Texas: Why I’m Still Fighting Censorship in Llano, Texas

In the summer of 2021, several citizens in Llano county approached the recently promoted and unqualified public library system director about some books.  Their collective concern was that books such as Freddie the Farting Snowman by Jane Bexley and I Need a New Butt by Dawn McMillan were “inappropriate.”