The growing conservative trend aiming to prosecute and punish educators and librarians for having materials that include ideas about racism, sex, and sexuality is in direct oppostition to the cause of “liberty” – a term often used by these same groups to justify their actions.
We in libraries can do nothing to ameliorate Mr. Rushdie’s physical pain. We can and should, however, proudly display and recommend his works. To support Mr. Rushdie and to celebrate his works is not to attack a religion. It is only to excoriate, as we should, the mindless and soulless adherence to the wrong-headed, hateful, and evil interpretation of a religion promulgated by mere–and mistaken–men.
Lisa Gerard defended students’ freedom to read at a school committee meeting this past June. Gender, police, and racism were at the core of the book challenges.
Despite Polacco’s talent to weave and illustrate a story, her books are not always well received. During a school visit, students read Polacco essays entitled “My Family”. One little girl was told her family, which included two mothers and adopted siblings, was not a “real family”. Outraged, Polacco went home that day and wrote In Our Mothers’ House, a story that shares the love and acceptance of a family of two mothers and adopted children of various ethnicities.
Most state legislative sessions are wrapping up this time of year, so it’s time to revisit bills introduced in Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, and Idaho that would allow librarians to be criminally charged over materials in the library collection and check their status.
In the midst of the recognition of Pride Month, a campaign called “Hide the Pride” is threatening to hide LGBTQIA+ library materials from others in the community that may want to access them. Started by an organization called CatholicVote, the initiative invites people to check out all the books from their library’s Pride Month display, under the guise of protecting children from being exposed to ideas of sexuality and gender identity and expression.
A lawsuit filed by residents of Llano County, Texas, says the plaintiffs are “fiercely united … in their belief that the government cannot dictate which books they can and cannot read.” The lawsuit described a heated debate that began last fall with people referring to a state lawmaker’s list of titles to target county officials with removal requests.
Providers of e-content such as Overdrive and Epic are no longer immune to book challenges – and in some counties, access is being cut off entirely.
In January of this year the Prosper Citizen Group Political Action Committee (Prosper PAC), a conservative political action group operating in Prosper, Texas, asked the Prosper Independent School District (PISD) to remove a list of 82 books from their libraries on the grounds that they were sexually graphic, violent and inappropriate for children. A group of Prosper ISD parents have created a reading group so they can decide for themselves whether these titles should be removed from Prosper schools. One of those parents is Holly Lister Draper who in February posted a review of one of the books from the Prosper PAC’s list, The Pants Project by Cat Clarke, on her Facebook page.
At this year’s ALA conference, show some love for your favorite banned and challenged books by snapping a photo with one of IFRT’S banned book flyers.