Among the rise of book challenges in Florida, members of the right-wing group Moms for Liberty called police on librarians in Florida’s panhandle.
Judd Legum is the author and founder of the Popular Information Newsletter and broke the story. He said he received information that complaints were being filed against librarians. So he sent public records requests to authorities in the Panhandle.
“I received a bodycam video which showed two people, who are members of Moms for Liberty, the Santa Rosa County chapter, telling a Sheriff’s deputy that there were several librarians who they believed were committing felony offenses by making this one book, a popular young adult novel called Storm and Fury, available to a 17-year-old student.”
Police body cam footage shows the Moms for Liberty complainant saying: “The governor says this is child pornography. It’s a serious crime.”
The book contains minor sexual themes and was recommended for readers 14 to 18 by Barnes and Noble. The Santa Rosa Police Department referred the matter to school authorities and closed the case. However, on another complaint, nearby Milton Police Department started an investigation.
“That really could have a chilling effect on librarians as far as what books they are going to offer, knowing that they could be the subject of a criminal complaint – that there’s a group of people out there who are going to law enforcement, who are somehow obtaining these books, and trying to convince someone to charge librarians.”
State law bans distributing a book or other material with sexual content if it is “harmful to minors,” a standard established by Supreme Court precedent.