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Book bans may impact Florida public schools but, Leon's public library system supports literary choice

Books are displayed on a table set up outside.
Tom Flanigan
WFSU Public Media
Free copies of Toni Morrison's "Beloved" were available at the "Big Read" event

As some in the Florida Legislature move to restrict the kinds of books found in public school libraries, Leon County's main library was kicking off a reading event Saturday. Depending on what happens during session, the book being featured for the occasion could someday run afoul of the proposed restrictions.

Director of the LeRoy Collins Leon County Library System Pamela Monroe welcomed visitors to the event, held outside the main branch on a blocked-off Park Avenue.

"This is our NEA Big Read kickoff. The book that we're focusing on this year is Toni Morrison's "Beloved," she explained, as parents and kids checked out the various display tables and gnashed on goodies provided by a number of food trucks.

"Beloved" is one of Morrison's more grown-up works. Race and the legacy of slavery are prominent parts of its narrative. So that and similar works could be banned from school libraries, under bills now working their way through the legislature. Monroe, a former teacher, wasn't surprised.

"There are a number of books that have been challenged and banned. If you go to the American Libraries Association website, you will see this is something that is always happening. But we hope that people continue to have a choice for what they want to read. We feel that's very important."

A lecture on Morrison's "Beloved" will be held at the library - and online - Monday, February 21st at 6 p.m.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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