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To ban, or not to ban, that is the question. Debate over book bans continues at an Orlando library

About 40 people attended a debate about book bans at the Orlando Public Library on Monday.
Danielle Prieur
About 40 people attended a debate about book bans at the Orlando Public Library on Monday.

A debate was held Monday, Feb. 12 at the Orlando Public Library. Participants discussed Florida's book bans.

About forty people attended a debate about book bans in Florida at the Orlando Public Library Monday, February 12.

Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice and former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio debated the legitimacy of the state’s book bans in the hour-long discussion.

 Brevard freshman Maggie Qin participated in the debate.
Danielle Prieur
Brevard freshman Maggie Qin participated in the debate.

Maggie Qin is a West Shore Junior/Senior High School Freshman in Brevard County and participated in the debate. She said it makes her sad that she won’t get to read certain books at school.

“I think there was a book next year that I was going to learn, but now I'm not,” said Qin.

 Hillsborough junior Shane Moore also participated in the debate.
Danielle Prieur
Hillsborough junior Shane Moore also participated in the debate.

Fellow debater Shane Moore is a junior at Hillsborough County’s Newsome High School. He thinks it’s important for students to be exposed to books that teach them about different perspectives, but there should be a line when it comes to graphic sexual content.

“We want to understand: why are we being exposed to this content so young?” said Moore.

Residents join in the debate over book bans.
Danielle Prieur
Residents join in the debate over book bans.

Orange County School Board member Angie Gallo was in the audience. Gallo said she was at the debate to listen to both sides of the argument in order to inform the school board’s revised book ban policy.

“And we've had some issues with a lot of books being removed from personal libraries and whatnot. And so we're trying to weed through that policy and that, and that process, I know that our policy is going to come back before the board so that we can have another go at it to make sure that we get it right,” said Gallo.

Thousands of books have been banned in Florida since HB 1069 passed in 2023, making it easier to challenge a book based on its sexual content.

Books on display at the debate Monday night at the Orlando Public Library.
Danielle Prieur
Books on display at the debate Monday night at the Orlando Public Library.

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Danielle Prieur