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Book banning in Louisiana: A look at the divisive battle in our state's libraries

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Stock photo of library books courtesy of Pexels

This episode of Louisiana Considered aired on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023. Here's what it featured:

Librarians in multiple south Louisiana parishes are responding to what they are seeing as efforts to censor their materials, particularly books that refer to sexuality and LGBTQ identities. However, those who speak out against these so-called “book bans,” often have a price to pay.

In July, Louisiana school librarian Amanda Jones spoke up in support of free speech and uncensored book access at a public library meeting, after which she was relentlessly harassed online. She ultimately took her harassers to court in a lawsuit for damages, but a judge ruled against her.

Despite the setback, Jones continues to advocate for free speech and accessible library materials. She joins us today with Lafayette-based writer, Lynette Mejía, who co-founded Louisiana Citizens Against Censorship.

But with librarians speaking up about what they see as potential book bans and prior restraint, we also wanted to talk with one of the community members advocating for more public scrutiny over these publicly accessible materials. Michael Lunsford, executive director of the organization Citizens for a New Louisiana, joins us for more on the other side of this debate.

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered was hosted by Adam Vos. Our managing producer is Alana Schreiber and our digital editor is Katelyn Umholtz. Our engineers are Garrett Pittman, Aubry Procell, and Thomas Walsh. 

You can listen to Louisiana Considered Monday through Friday at 12:00 and 7:30 pm. It’s available on Spotify, Google Play, and wherever you get your podcasts. 

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Adam is responsible for coordinating WRKF's programming and making sure everything you hear on the radio runs smoothly. He is the Baton Rouge-based host for Louisiana Considered, our daily regional news program, and is also frequently the local voice afternoons on All Things Considered.
Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WRKF from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.