Image Credit: Twitter / X @mrscapshawbooks
The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
The librarian on the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission, one of 9 current members charged with recommending official lists of textbooks and other instructional materials, is a member of an organization actively fighting against “censorship” of inappropriate books in public schools.
Katie Capshaw, who was appointed by Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally to a three-year term, is an active member of the American Library Association (ALA) which promised in June to distribute $1 million in funds to support the fight against what they say is “censorship” and “book banning.”
The 11-member commission, which currently has two vacancies, is made up of two directors of schools, one principal, one teacher or supervisor of grades K-3, one teacher or supervisor for grades 4-8, another teacher or supervisor for high school grades and three members who are not employed by the state’s public school system from the three grand divisions of Tennessee. Members are appointed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the House.
Each member takes an oath when joining the commission which states:
“I do hereby declare that I am not now directly or indirectly financially interested in, or employed by, any textbook or instructional materials publisher or agency, and that I will not become directly or indirectly financially interested in any of the proposed contracts, nor in any book or instructional materials, nor in any publishing concern handling or offering any books or other publications to the commission, of which I am a member, for listing and adoption, and I do hereby promise that I will act honestly, faithfully and conscientiously, and in all respects will discharge my duty as a member of this commission to the best of my skill and ability.”
The Textbook Commission on which Capshaw serves is a last stop for book challenges after local LEAs have reviewed objectionable material. The ALA considers requests for the reconsideration of books in a public school’s collection to be censorship, and the removal of books from a collection to be banning.
In their 2021 990T filing, the ALA had a total advertising income of over $2 million for two periodicals, one of which is Booklist Magazine, used in Wilson County as well as other school districts for book recommendations.
Booklist recommends sexually explicit books such as those that have wound up on mature reading lists.
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas for “young adults” ages 14 and up contains 22 pages of graphic sexual encounters, scenes that concerned parents say are written with the clear intent to induce sexual arousal.
Can Capshaw, who was also President of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL) in 2022, and is one of TASL’s 2023 current officers, state in good faith that she is not “indirectly financially interested in” the ongoing success of the publishing endeavors of organizations such as ALA, TASL, and American Association of School Librarians?
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at email@example.com.