Dates set for injunction briefs in Llano County library lawsuit

Books removed from Llano County library shelves

Four of the 12 books that the plaintiffs in the Little et. al. vs Llano County et. al. lawsuit want returned to the Llano County Library System’s shelves and catalog are ‘They Called Themselves the K.K.K: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group,’ ‘Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,’ ‘My Butt is so Noisy!,’ and ‘Freddy the Farting Snowman.’

A schedule for both the plaintiffs and the defendants in the Llano County Library System lawsuit to submit post-hearing briefings was set by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman on Monday, Nov. 14. 

Plaintiffs in the Little et. al. vs Llano County et. al. civil suit must submit a post-hearing brief regarding their Motion for Preliminary Injunction by Dec. 2. Defendants must submit their response to the plaintiffs’ brief by Dec. 16. Plaintiffs can reply with a second brief on or before Dec. 23, after which, Pitman will review and make his ruling. No date is set for the ruling.

Pitman heard testimony on Oct. 28 and 31 in a hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by the plaintiffs. The injunction seeks the return of 12 books to the library system’s shelves and digital catalog. It also asks Judge Pitman to open future meetings of the Llano County Library Advisory Board to the public. The board closed its meetings to the public in March.

A trial date has been set for Oct. 23, 2023, when a jury will decide whether or not the defendants, which include Llano County commissioners, the Llano County Library System director, and certain members of the advisory board, have violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights in the first and 14th amendments by removing books from Llano County libraries based on personal political beliefs.

A ruling on the preliminary injunction will determine what will be done with the 12 books already removed until that time. 

Currently, the books are in a back room in the Llano County Library in Llano and can be checked out by anyone who knows to ask a librarian for them. The in-house checkout system was set up after the injunction was filed by the plaintiffs. 

The books had been disposed of, but the outside attorney for the defendants, Jonathan F. Mitchell of Mitchell Law LLC in Austin, purchased replacements anonymously so librarians could say they were available. The library did not publicize that fact, however, so anyone wanting to check them out would have to already know they were there. Mitchell was revealed as the anonymous donor during testimony on Oct. 28. An attempt by the plaintiffs’ attorneys to put Mitchell on the stand was overruled by the judge.

The removed books are: 

  • “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent” by Isabel Wilkerson 
  • “They Called Themselves the K.K.K: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
  • “Spinning” by Tillie Walden 
  • “In the Night Kitchen” by Maurice Sendak 
  • “It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health” by Robie Harris
  • “My Butt is So Noisy!,” “I Broke My Butt!,” and “I Need a New Butt!” by Dawn McMillan
  • “Larry the Farting Leprechaun,” “Gary the Goose and His Gas on the Loose,” “Freddie the Farting Snowman,” and “Harvey the Heart Had Too Many Farts” by Jane Bexley
  • “Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen” by Jazz Jennings
  • “Shine” by Lauren Myracle
  • “Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale” by Selina Kyle
  • “Gabi, a Girl in Pieces” by Isabel Quintero
  • “Freakboy” by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

suzanne@thepicayune.com

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