Several banned books to return to shelves in Llano County

In a preliminary injunction, a divided panel of three federal appeals court judges ruled the Llano County Library system must put 8 out of 17 banned books back on the shelves, following a lawsuit over their removal.

"No doubt this is a very significant decision," said Dr. Eddy Carder, a constitutional law professor with Prairie View A&M University.

In 2022, seven people sued county officials and the library director for pulling the books that dealt with subjects including sex and racism, as well as gay and transgender issues.

Last year, a district judge ordered all 17 books to be returned to shelves, but that order was then put on hold. The library even came close to closing over the controversy last April.

In this latest decision, one judge voted to uphold the previous ruling to return the books. A second voted to keep them off shelves entirely. A third judge agreed to return some of the books, but said nine could stay off the shelves as the appeal plays out.


"This decision is one decision in what is going to be years of litigation with regard to this particular matter," said Carder. "This is going to play itself out in more appeals and more debate."

But in a statement, the plaintiffs, who call themselves the "Llano Seven", said in part: "...this week’s ruling is a victory for those who support the right to read... Public libraries should be a place...where people of walks can go read about whatever they want. We hope this ruling will help our libraries in Llano County get back to that."

FOX 7 reached out to Llano County Judge Ron Cunningham, and the library’s director, for comment. As of Tuesday, June 11, we have not heard back.