Savannah teacher starts own little library of ‘challenged books’

Free book library
Free book library(WTOC)
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 10:33 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 11, 2022 at 9:13 AM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Book bans continue to be a hot topic nationwide.

As efforts grow 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 couple of years ago as a hobby, but now, with the controversy around certain books in schools, he wanted to shift the focus.

He stocks it with books some people want removed from schools and libraries just to give people an option to read them.

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

Clifton goes by E. Shaver Booksellers pretty often. He orders books commonly challenged to stock his own library at home.

“We’re standing in front of my little free library,” he said. “There are some books I don’t want to put in here. I’m mindful of my community. I’m mindful of who might be looking in my library.”

He uses the American Library Association as a reliable source and picks books that have been challenged over the last 5 years.

“I would guess somewhere around 20 or 25 [books]. Some have gone in the last couple of days and I need to restock. I have some books waiting in the queue,” Clifton said.

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

“I’m just trying 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 does have some ideas to build another library or donate the books in the future.

The Savannah Chatham Public School System had a meeting last week to discuss their book selection process.

Any parent can submit a material reconsideration form to have a book removed if they feel it’s inappropriate.

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