Cedar Rapids bookstore owner disappointed with ‘banned books’ law

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 5:46 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - One book store owner in Cedar Rapids is voicing his concerns after a parent bought 10 banned books from his store because she was worried that her children wouldn’t have access to them.

Bart Carithers, the owner of Next Page Books, said the parent was worried her children wouldn’t have the opportunity to read books like Animal Farm, Catcher in the Rye and Slaughterhouse Five, as they’re on many lists of banned books. He said, although he’s in the business of selling books, it saddens him that a parent would feel they have to go to that extent to make sure their children have access to those books.

The Iowa statehouse recently passed legislation banning books that depict “sex acts” in schools, and one Democratic state Senator says this would even ban Shakespeare in high school across Iowa. Carithers said this disappoints him because this isn’t the Iowa he knew while growing up here.

“Well, when I grew up here in the 60s and early 70s, Iowa was a much more progressive state,” said Carithers. “Even back then might have tilted conservative, but there was no question about our reading Of Mice and Men in a high school lit class. Now suddenly 50-60 years later people are taking issue with books like that.”

A report released from the American Library Association on Thursday shows attempts to ban books reached a more than 20 year high. It shows most of the listed books have characters or authors are LGBTQ or people of color.