Superintendent: Escambia School Libraries Are Open As Books Are Under Review

August 10, 2023

Escambia County Public Schools interim Superintendent Keith Leonard tells that school libraries across the district are open  as media specialists work review books to comply with a Florida House bill.

“The libraries are not closed,” Leonard told us, standing in the Northview High School library Thursday morning. “There is going to be limited access because the media specialists are reviewing all of the books to be in compliance with the house bill. It’s just going to take us a little time to get there.”

HB 1069 says that districts could be breaking the law if they do not remove materials containing “sexual conduct”, and it makes it easier for parents or others to object to media materials.

“Students will still be able to visit the library. There will be a limited selection for them to either read or check out. People just need to be patient with us. I do believe that our citizens will be; I know that our students will be. It’s unfortunate this is where we are. But in today’s time that’s what we have to do and we’ll continue to do it.”

Once the media specialists have completed reviews of library materials to ensure they comply with HB 1069, they will begin reviewing teachers’ classroom libraries. In the meantime, approved titles from the media centers will be made available to teachers in their classrooms for student self-selection or leisure reading.

At Northview, the library was open Thursday, but officials said there is no scheduled time for students to visit the library on the first day of school to check out books. The library was open for students to receive their school-provided Chromebook computers.

Pictured: The Northview High School media center was open on the first day of school Thursday morning. photos, click to enlarge.


17 Responses to “Superintendent: Escambia School Libraries Are Open As Books Are Under Review”

  1. Big Jim on August 11th, 2023 9:53 am

    There are millions of published works in the world and no single library anywhere will have them all. The issue is what titles should be in curated cirulation from a school library. Any book on the shelves has thus been granted some level of endorsement to be placed in the hands of a student. The Community is setting the standard that some of these explicit titles do not deserve to be in the limited subset of available printed materials available to students. This shouldn’t be a big deal.

  2. Bob on August 11th, 2023 8:59 am

    Again, the list of books that are under review has been available for months. Again, what makes “And Tango Makes Three”, “Finding Alaska”, and “When Wilma Rudolph Played Basketball” inappropriate for children? What classified as “filth” and “smut”?

  3. Ron on August 11th, 2023 8:41 am

    They want to ban books that are questionable in their minds but it is ok for the kids to find all the smut they want on their phones. Maybe it is time for parents to be parents and start taking time to raise their kids and see what they are viewing

  4. Mike on August 11th, 2023 8:15 am

    Bob, you say anti….to summarize, you mean people who are anti- perversion. And we have had enough.

  5. Republican reader of books on August 11th, 2023 8:11 am

    I disagree with censorship of this scope. Libraries are off limits and have always been a sacred, safe haven, for opposing views, differing opinions, and discovery. A teacher pushing specific controversial books on a student is a different situation, but that does not appear to be what is happening. This situation involves books sitting on shelves of libraries that would take effort by a child by their own free will to find, open, and read.

  6. Pat Smith on August 11th, 2023 7:44 am

    If parents want their children reading pornography they should purchase the books and put them on their bookshelves. These books have no value except to expose your child to a Marxist agenda.

  7. R on August 11th, 2023 7:23 am

    The problem in recent years is that groups that seek to sexualize children have been placing books in school and public libraries. Target has been funding one of these groups whose primary mission is to place “how to” books.

  8. Steve on August 11th, 2023 6:40 am

    Something is wrong when you have to spend a couple more days of work to get the pornography out of the elementary schools . Some adult failed our kids !

  9. brianh on August 11th, 2023 6:15 am

    Bob, no books are being banned so please stop saying that. It should be up to the parents about what content their children see or read NOT the schools. If you want to go out and get your child a graphic novel, you STILL can do that.

  10. Carolyn Bramblett on August 10th, 2023 9:08 pm

    How simple is it for people to realize that parents, lots of parents, are fed up with filth that is enveloping our country. If you don’t like the fact a standard has been set then take your own kids to a library of your choosing or go to a store that sells books. Lots of us are fed up and I have no regard for librarians or teachers who I don’t know their mindset to guide my children and grandchildren. Who do you think the purveyors of filth are? Other adults who we hopefully do not know and can block their attempt to take down our children.

  11. Santa Rosa Dad on August 10th, 2023 8:44 pm

    My son is in 4th grade and a notice came home that said the library would be closed for several weeks – that if we want them to read books – we should send them along but they are not to be shared. It’s pretty absurd that politicians think they know better than librarians and educators on how to responsibly help grow a child’s mind. Meanwhile home owners insurance is about to go up another 40%. I’m not just getting priced out… I’m getting tired out. I guess that’s the point though.

  12. Dhg on August 10th, 2023 7:50 pm

    The sanctimonious pushing book bans need to back off. This is insane. Why aren’t the lazy fear mongering parents monitoring what books their child checks out instead of pushing authoritarian nonsense of book bans.

  13. Ernie Hogan on August 10th, 2023 6:02 pm

    Sad. Censoring what the library offers, especially if it is material that has been available for years, is silly and means nothing. Kids today (most) do not use the library as a source. Talk about overreach…jeez.

  14. Willene on August 10th, 2023 4:51 pm

    The books that the schools are pulling from the libraries are filth. Filthy words and pictures that has no right to be in a school library that our tax dollars pay for. The schools can control what the children read at school. Yes they can pull up filth on cell phones but then that lays on the shoulders of their parents not the schools and tax payers.

  15. Bob on August 10th, 2023 2:49 pm

    Look, if libraries had copies of Playboy on the shelves? Then we’d absolutely have a problem.

    But that’s not what these book bans are about. Many websites (including this one) have a list of the books being challenged. It includes Perks of Being a Wallflower, And Tango Makes Three, and Finding Alaska.

    This is about people in our community using book bans as an excuse to force their hateful, anti-gay, anti-trans, anti-minority agenda under the guide of “protecting children”. It’s shameful. It’s unAmerican. And it’s embarrassing how many people in our community have fallen for it hook, line, and sinker.

  16. Northview dad on August 10th, 2023 2:21 pm

    I understand to a point on the books but are y’all forgetting what time and day we live in they got more stuff can be pull up on there phones if the books has been in their since I was in Northview no one ever said anything about it why start now.

  17. Frank on August 10th, 2023 1:33 pm

    I visited the Santa Rosa & Escambia County web sight and have to be honest. I was shocked at the graphic material in our kids reach. (Web sight had Graphic warning)

Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.