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Escondido Union School District closes libraries for book audit as Banned Books Week kicks off

The American Library Association reports seeing a surge in book censorship attempts in recent years.

So they have declared the first week of October as "Banned Books Week."

Libraries and organizations throughout San Diego will be holding events to educate the community about book censorship.


"This is a social action issue all over the country, and people don't seem to understand the gravity of this situation," said Rene Tarver with the North San Diego County Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Many of the books being challenged aim to erase uncomfortable, but important American history she said, "Eventually there will be no history except what people tell us happened, that didn't happen."

The sorority will be hosting virtual events throughout the week on book censorship, specifically, "what banned books are about, what options people have ... because you can fight censorship," Tarver said.

"The opposition to this is a well organized machine ... we've been reactionary. We want to not be reactionary," she said. "We want an educated community and we want the community to know how they can fight back." 

Californians could be seeing less book censorship after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that forbids "book bans" in schools. It also prohibits school boards from banning instructional materials based on racial or LGBTQ+ topics.


But how that plays out has yet to be determined because just last week, Escondido Union School District closed all of their libraries for a book audit.

In a statement, Superintendent Luis Ibarra said, "The district has temporarily suspended library services to allow our library media technicians to conduct a thorough audit of our library collection." 

He stated that a book containing sexually explicit material was in one of the school libraries. The title of that book found in one of the K-8 schools was not provided.

More details will be released following the audit that could keep libraries closed until the end of this week.

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