Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday announced the appointment of former Arkansas Sen. Jason Rapert to a six year term on the State Library Board.
Rapert, described by right-leaning education and research organization Family Council as a “staunch conservative and a proponent of biblical worldview,” will serve on the state board until Oct. 18, 2029.
“He will be a much-needed addition to the library board in light of recent concerns some people have voiced about inappropriate material in local libraries,” Family Council President Jerry Cox wrote Monday.
According to its website, the mission of the Arkansas State Library is to provide guidance and support for the development of local public libraries and provide resources necessary to meet the education, informational, and cultural needs of Arkansas citizens.
Rapert’s appointment comes after a year of controversy surrounding what materials should be made available in public libraries.
Sanders signed a bill into law in March that would subject librarians and booksellers to criminal charges if they provide “harmful” materials to minors. The law also created a new process to challenge library materials and request that they be relocated to areas not accessible by kids.
In July, U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks issued a preliminary injunction against the law, blocking its enforcement.
Arkansas lawmakers followed an increasing number of conservative states pushing for measures making it easier to ban or restrict access to books. The number of attempts to ban or restrict books across the U.S. last year was the highest in the 20 years the American Library Association has been tracking such efforts.
Laws restricting access to certain materials or making it easier to challenge them have been enacted in several other states, including Iowa, Indiana and Texas.