Virginia School Board Deploys Moms for Liberty-Associated Book Banning Tool

Moms for Liberty co-founder Tina Descovich (Image from M4L promotional video)

The school board in Hanover County, Virginia, changed its policies in June to give itself the power to remove any title from school libraries, and then used that power to pull 19 books from the shelves. Now the board is forcing librarians to use a book rating tool associated with the right-wing political group Moms for Liberty to review more than 100 additional books in high school and middle school libraries, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported Monday.

The paper reported that school district documents “state that educators are expected to use BookLooks, a tool associated with advocacy group Moms for Liberty, as the first authority when gauging a book’s suitability. BookLooks was first approved as a new ‘professional selection source’ at the School Board’s meeting only last Tuesday.”

While BookLooks claims not to be affiliated with Moms for Liberty, there’s plenty of documentation about close ties between the groups’ leaders, agenda, strategies, and criteria for challenging books. As Bookriot reported last year, “what appears to be an objective measure of a book’s content, mirrored after movie ratings, is anything but. It is a tool developed by Moms For Liberty being used to push their agendas even further under the guise of protecting children.”

According to the Dispatch reporting on Hanover County:

More than 100 books could be on the chopping block as the board seeks to eliminate books that some parental groups say contain sexual content that the board says is unsuitable for students. Opponents of recent changes to rules for libraries have said the School Board is engaging in censorship while ridding schools of important books teaching real-world lessons to students.

Not surprisingly, books with LGBTQ content are targets of BookLooks content ratings and determinations about which books are “unsuitable,” along with books by and about people of color that explore racism in our history and society.

As Right Wing Watch reported in its coverage of Moms for Liberty’s national summit in Philadelphia this summer, Moms for Liberty “has been fully adopted by the deep-pocketed powerhouses of the right-wing political movement,” groups like the Leadership Institute and Heritage Foundation, who see Moms for Liberty as a media-friendly vanguard supporting authoritarian politicians and their attacks on freedom and the MAGA movement’s perceived enemies.

During the Moms for Liberty summit, People For the American Way launched its “Grandparents for Truth” project to mobilize public support for the freedom to learn.

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