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Iowa House bars books with sexual content in school libraries
Also, language barrier grants go to Iowa businesses
Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau
Mar. 8, 2023 7:23 pm
Iowa House Republicans passed a bill on Wednesday that would prohibit school libraries from including books that are not “age-appropriate,” barring any books that contain sexual content.
Teachers and librarians would be required to create a library program within the parameters of the bill. The program would be set up by the school librarian, working with students, teachers, administrator and other staff and would regularly reviewed.
The House passed the legislation, 60-37. Three Republicans joined all Democrats in voting no.
The bill follows hearings by the House Government Oversight Committee last month where parents who attempted to get books removed from school curriculums or libraries told lawmakers there should be more processes in place to restrict books they see as obscene.
Lawmakers also heard from school administrators and students who had been involved in requests to remove library books.
Rep. Brooke Boden, R-Indianola, said the bill is not intended to restrict books dealing with LGBTQ characters or classics like “To Kill A Mockingbird,” which some opponents have cited as a book that would be banned under the bill.
“I just want to make it extremely clear that we are not banning books,” Boden said. “And parental choice still exists. Parents can still read the books of their choice to their own children.”
Books like "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," "Me, Earl and the Dying Girl" and "Gender Queer" are among the books that have been successfully removed from Iowa schools, according to PEN America.
Democrats contend the bill is unnecessary because processes already exist to review books in schools. They agrue the bill could prohibit books that have literary value and would remove books that parents may want their child to read.
“There may be some passages that, taken out of context, may seem inappropriate,” said Rep. Sue Cahill, D-Marshalltown, and a former school librarian. “But we look at the literary value of books, how it represents students in our school system.”
GRANTS TO HELP WORKPLACE LANGUAGE BARRIERS: Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday announced new grant awards targeted at reducing language barriers within Iowa’s workforce.
Reynolds announced $357,470 in funding to provide dual-language instruction in Spanish, English and Mandarin to 465 employees at 11 different Iowa businesses.
The programs seek to help employers serve more customers and boost recruitment and retention efforts with new staff, according to the governor’s office.
Employers were required to provide plans for sustaining each language program, and courses were encouraged to be conducted onsite or include several options for flexible transportation offsite.
Grants were awarded to:
• ALPLA Inc., Iowa City
• A. Y. McDonald Mfg. Co., Dubuque
• Catalyst Project Management, Iowa City
• Country Maid, West Bend
• Heritage Building Maintenance, Des Moines
• Interstates, Sioux Center
• Ironwood 53 Design and Build, Rock Valley
• Neumann Monson, Iowa City
• New Hope Village Inc., Carroll
• Shearer's Foods, Burlington
• VGM Group, Waterloo.