EveryLibrary Joins PEN, NCAC, Big Four Publishers Urging South Carolina to Halt Regulations 43-170

EveryLibrary has joined with several free expression groups, including PEN America, the National Coalition Against Censorship, We Need Diverse Books, and Authors Against Book Bans, along with publishers like Hachette, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuester, and over 350 authors in an Open Letter to the South Carolina state Legislature urging them to halt implementation of Regulations 43-170, a new rule that would impose a restrictive "two-part test" about content that could lead to widespread book bans in schools

The Open Letter to the South Carolina state legislature expresses our serious concerns regarding proposed regulations that threaten the freedom to read in public schools. Set to take effect on June 25, these regulations introduce a stringent "two-part test" to determine the age-appropriateness and educational suitability of school materials, specifically targeting content that describes sexual conduct.

The letter outlines two major concerns: First, the regulations could lead to widespread bans on a diverse range of literature, including classics, contemporary novels, and essential educational content about sexual violence and consent. This is particularly alarming as similar policies in other states have resulted in significant book bans. Second, the implementation of these tests could severely restrict access to critical educational content on topics like sexual abuse and consent, which are crucial for student awareness and safety.

We believe that educators and school librarians already possess effective systems for selecting appropriate materials without the need for restrictive government mandates. Over 100 books have been banned in South Carolina since 2021, and this number could rise significantly if the regulations are enacted. We want to emphasize the importance of free expression and the role of literature in democracy and call on the legislature to stop these damaging regulations and protect students' access to a broad range of literature.

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