A federal judge has canceled a trial set to begin April 22 in a library censorship lawsuit against Crawford County officials. It’s expected to be rescheduled later.

The lawsuit, before Judge P.K. Holmes III in a bench trial in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith, was filed in May by three Crawford County mothers on their and their minor children’s behalf.

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Holmes did not give a reason for his decision, which was posted online today.

Both sides have already asked Holmes to go ahead and decide the case. Such pretrial motions are common but often unsuccessful.

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The lawsuit challenges what plaintiffs have called “the stigmatization of certain books by placing a prominent color label on them and moving the books to a separate ‘social section’” in the system’s libraries, including the main one in Van Buren.

The books, most notably those with LGBTQ+ topics, were moved from the children’s and youth sections of each library to a special section, and even then sometimes placed on a high shelf to make them harder to access.

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