A few weeks ago, I received a call from a Vinton resident concerned that local library director Renee Greenlee was being bullied by library patrons over the hiring of LGBTQ staff and the placement of LGBTQ children's books.
While my beat is K-12 education, I was curious how the fight over what books children should have access to reached rural Iowa.
I am no stranger to debate over books. I've spent 12 years covering education and two years as a bookseller for the now-shuttered Borders bookstore.
More recently, my colleagues and I have reported on the call by Gov. Kim Reynolds and Republican lawmakers for more parental control when it comes to children's education.
Iowa lawmakers tried and failed to pass legislation that would have banned books from school libraries that some considered obscene or pornographic. Often the books in question dealt with the LGBTQ issues and race. Throughout the debate, many have defended the rigorous work that goes into vetting school library books.
Then last week, the Vinton Public Library Board meeting became the perfect microcosm for this ongoing national debate. I hope you will give this subscriber-only story a read to find out what happened and how the library board plans to move forward.
This is Samantha Hernandez realizing I should really finish some of the books on my to-read list this weekend. Help me and my colleagues better cover all our Iowa schools by sending your story ideas to email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: How the fight over LGBTQ children's books reached rural Iowa