Longview ISD superintendent discusses how library books are regulated

One of the discussion items at Longview ISD’s last board meeting was the review of books ordered for schools in the district.
Published: Oct. 29, 2022 at 5:21 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - One of the discussion items at Longview ISD’s last board meeting was the review of books ordered for schools in the district. The head librarian presented a report to the board which included any books that the board might deem inappropriate.

Longview ISD Superintendent James Wilcox says scrutinizing district library books is nothing new.

“We have been taking some books off the shelves the last sixteen and a half years that I’ve been here,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox says their Head Librarian Kimberly Shadowens had reviewed all the titles of books ordered for school this year and presented a report to the school board.

“Occasionally people get a little lackadaisical and individual books slip through. When they are found, we take them out of circulation,” Wilcox said.

Although the head librarian found at least one questionable book that had been ordered, the district says no books have been pulled this year.

“The books are vetted before they are ordered. Some companies, they’ll just have, ‘we recommend these X titles for first grade, or second, or high school,’” Wilcox said.

Wilcox says over the years sometimes a questionable book comes in a bundle of books.

“When we feel like something’s inappropriate; that’s what we would want for our child? And so, we’re pulling those books,” Wilcox said.

LISD has an online card catalogue K-12 available for district families. Wilcox says the head librarian uses that list to review titles. It’s not necessarily the case that each book is read in full before making a determination, though.

“Nope. If it’s a questionable title that’s good enough,” Wilcox said.

He says a notification is sent to the appropriate campus when a book is identified.

“And, the principal and the staff say well, you know, this is something that slipped through the cracks, and this is not something that I want my child reading, and it’s not something I want your child reading. And then, it is not burned or banned, it’s just pulled, and then you have to have a parent request for it to be checked out,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox says the book is taken out and “put on the ‘must request’ list, and that ‘must request’ list is with parental approval.”

“But, sixteen and a half years, we’ve never had one of those requests here in Longview,” Wilcox said.

He says they have not received any complaints about their library books from parents, and Wilcox wants to keep it that way.

“If it deals expressly with alternative lifestyles or sexual preference, then that’s not something that we want our students reading on our watch. Their parents can provide them with any kind of material that they want, but if it’s coming through us, we want to make sure it’s appropriate,” Wilcox said.

KLTV 7's Jamey Boyum talks with Longview ISD Superintendent James Wilcox about what the district does to make sure library books are appropriate for students.