Tennessee lawmakers file bill targeting 'obscene' books in school libraries

The cover of "The Complete Maus," a novel by Art Spiegelman that tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman's experience of surviving in Hitler's Europe. / Staff photo by Kim Sebring

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Two Tennessee lawmakers have filed a bill aimed at purging books and other materials deemed "obscene or harmful to minors" from school libraries.

But several professional groups representing librarians across the state say districts already have processes in place to reconsider textbooks and materials flagged as objectionable.

"We feel that current school district board policies, when followed, adequately address concerns raised by parents or guardians about books," said a Friday statement from the Tennessee Association of School Librarians.

The bill, filed this week by Republican Rep. Scott Cepicky of Culleoka and Sen. Joey Hensley of Hohenwald, would apply to public schools, including charter schools.

The proposal comes amid a national wave of book challenges, especially in politically conservative states like Tennessee, where individuals or groups are seeking to remove or restrict access to children's and young adult books that they say contain pornography or other content deemed unwholesome.

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