Columbia, SC (WLTX) – Classic novels and modern books are being challenged and banned across the nation including right here in the Midlands.

“People will try to censor or ban really anything because of moral, ethical, religious objections, things that have strong language, sexual content, the portrayal of different gender identities,” Richland Librarian Sarah Gough explained.

Recently “To Kill a Mockingbird” was pulled from a school reading list in Mississippi. She said that book, many other classics and even the dictionary are always on the chopping block.

“A lot of times a sensor is sincerely concerned and they’re thinking that they’re doing the right thing. They’re trying to protect people especially children from books or other content that has information that does not align with their particular values so most people are well-intentioned when they’re doing it,” she said.

Gough said the freedom to read is one of our greatest rights and for that reason, Richland Library will not ban books.

"They challenge us to think in a different way, they challenge us to explore worlds that are different from our own and new ideas so that is why those materials are so enduring in the first place," Gough said.

Leaders with Lexington School District One said “To Kill a Mockingbird” is on their reading list.
The district’s Director of Secondary Schools, Ryan Pool said they sometimes get pushback from parents about certain books but have policies in place to address those concerns and often times the issue is resolved with just a conversation.

“We’ve got some processes in place to let a group of folks really sit down and consider from multiple perspectives what those objections might be and like I said from my years in this district I haven’t seen a particular title be removed,” Pool explained.

Pool said although it’s not the district’s practice to remove books, educators have a tough time figuring out what’s both age-appropriate and teaches specific standards.

List of Challenged and Banned Books in SouthCarolina by WLTX on Scribd

“There’s a lot of different resources that can get to the teaching of the standards that being said there’s some great classic books and some great modern writers that we see more often,” he said. “We leave a lot of discretion to teachers to really get out the skills and processes their students need."

“We provide those materials about all different topics and point of view so that people can inform themselves,” Gough said.

The American Library Association reports there have been books removed from some South Carolina schools. The list includes “Fat Kids Rule the World,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” “Catcher in the Rye,” and “A Day No Pigs Would Die” are just a few.

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