Savannah Arts Academy English teacher opens his own little library of ‘difficult books’

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) — Book bans continue to be a hot topic across the country.

As efforts mount to remove books from school shelves, a teacher in Savannah is doing something about it.

Richard Clifton is an English teacher at the Savannah Arts Academy. He built a “little free library” in his front yard.

It started a few years ago as a hobby, but now with controversy over some books in schools, he wanted to change direction.

He stores it with books that some people want removed from schools and libraries just to give people a chance to read them.

“Winnie the Pooh? Who would ban Winnie the Pooh?” asked an employee at E. Shaver Booksellers.

Clifton goes through E. Shaver Booksellers quite often. He orders often challenged books to stock his own library at home.

“We are in front of my little free library,” he said. “There are books I don’t want to put here. I am aware of my community. I’m careful who might look in my library.

It uses the American Library Association as a trusted source and selects books that have been challenged within the last 5 years.

“I guess somewhere around 20 or 25 [books]. Some have left in recent days and I need to restock. I have books waiting in the queue,” Clifton said.

As a teacher and book lover, Clifton said he just wanted to make the books available.

“I just try to give people a choice and people can walk by and choose not to take one.”

He said the library will remain in his front yard, free of charge.

“I hope people will take a book home, read it and have a conversation.”

Clifton said he had ideas to build another library or donate the books in the future.

The Savannah Chatham Public School System met last week to discuss its book selection process.

Any parent can submit a material review form to have a book removed if they feel it is inappropriate.

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