Librarian files lawsuit against conservative group after heated meeting over possible ‘book bans’

A school librarian in Livingston Parish is suing a popular conservative non-profit organization for defamation and harassment.
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 9:53 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2022 at 10:41 PM CDT
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LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (WAFB) - A school librarian in Livingston Parish is suing a popular conservative non-profit organization for defamation and harassment.

The suit was filed following a heated Livingston Parish Library Board of Control meeting in July on ‘book content,’ which turned into a discussion about the potential banning of books.

CLICK HERE to read the lawsuit.

It comes after a book called “Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy” was apparently discovered in the young adult section of a public library in Livingston Parish and prompted lots of people to show up to the meeting.

Some were in support of banning the book, while others attended the meeting because they believe it is free expression.

Now, the tensions have boiled over into a lawsuit by Amanda Jones.

On her website, Jones says, “On Tuesday, July 19th, I spoke publicly at the Livingston Parish Public Library Board of Control Meeting as a resident of my community. Below is a copy of the speech I read word-for-word. I also have an audio recording of that meeting to back up the fact that this was my exact speech. Since that meeting, I have been harassed and defamed online and am seeking legal action. I will keep you updated as much as legally possible on this journey as things progress. I will not sit by and let my good name be tarnished by lies. Thank you to the hundreds of organizations, librarians, educators, friends, and family who have reached out in support.”

RELATED: Parents upset over possible book bans at Livingston Parish Library Board of Control meeting

According to a GoFundMe for her legal bills, Jones is pursuing ‘protection against those who have been slandering her name after she spoke out against censorship at her local public library board meeting.’

“Would a person who’s the president of the school librarian association - would they have any influence over what books are in their school libraries?” asked Michael Lunsford, executive director of Citizens for a New Louisiana. “And I absolutely think that’s the case. And I don’t think it’s out of line to ask that question.”

Lunsford originally got the tip that the book called ‘Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy,’ was found in the young adult section of the public library in Livingston Parish.

“It’s a library. Let’s do a summer reading program, let’s talk about Nancy Drew mystery novels, lets talk about things that are non-controversial. Because a library is not here to make controversy,” said Lunsford.

He shared his thoughts and criticism on social media, about that book and others like it allegedly found in the library.

It prompted a number of folks including Amanda Jones, to show up to protest book bans in front of the Livingston Parish Public Library’s Board of Control in July.

“At least I’m not looking at Harry Potter and I turn around and the shelf behind me has non-fiction, and I’m looking at the book and I’m going, oh my goodness. Ooh that’s some heavy stuff on that page. That’s kind of the issue that we’re trying to address. Do I believe that the library should be using taxpayer money to buy this, ehh not this book,” said Lunsford.

While Lunsford could not comment too much on the pending litigation against him, he says he’s not against book bans. But he believes books about sex-education and LGBTQ+ topics should be in an appropriate section of the library, or up to each parents decision.

“That’s the point, is that this material is not suitable, it’s not appropriate, and that’s it,” he said.

WAFB did reach out to officials at the Livingston Parish Library on whether or not the controversial books were still on the shelves, but we have not heard back yet.

No word yet on when there will be a hearing for the lawsuit at the Livingston Parish Courthouse.

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