Abortion rights is a topic that some teachers may choose to avoid or be prohibited from teaching. Karen Blumenthal’s latest book, “Jane Against the World,” provides students with a well-researched and nuanced history of reproductive rights in America, connecting to larger issues of poverty, racism, and gender and workplace discrimination. Learn more about the censorship she experienced while researching Texas state documents as well as experiences with censorship related to her books.
The ongoing struggle to ensure racial justice in American society should prompt educators to take a closer look at the wording of history standards and the learning resources used by students. Then, collaborate with school librarians to provide students with a more accurate, complex look at history and current events.
Like all readers, teachers and librarians develop intimate relationships with books, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the books teachers and librarians choose to offer our students are intimately tied with who we are, what we care about, and what is happening in our lives at any given historical moment.
Eight of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books in 2019 featured diverse content related to sexuality. Read an interview with Jed Dearybuy, educator and LGBTQ+ advocate in South Carolina, who is working to build more accepting, equitable, and safe educational environments for all students.
Some public challenges in 2019 focused on books that were read aloud to minors. The issues were LGBTQIA and race. But some challenges raise new questions.
As the popularity of classroom libraries grows, so do book challenges and censorship. Classroom teachers must partner with school librarians in order to protect students’ right to read and diverse classroom libraries.
An anti-LGBTQ law in South Carolina was recently struck down in a positive move toward a more inclusive and scientifically factual comprehensive health education curriculum.
Overall, going to legislative advocacy day was a really positive experience. I think it is important for librarians to speak up about the importance of libraries and the needs of our patrons. Many of our patrons – especially in school libraries – can’t speak up for themselves about what they need. In today’s fiscal climate, I think we need to speak up to make sure we can continue to serve our patrons’ needs.
The Blaine Amendment, ensconced in some 37 state constitutions, prohibits the expenditure of public funds for private religious education. But the United States Supreme Court seems poised to strike it down.
This year many libraries will be marking the anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The anniversary presents an opportunity for uplifting and highlighting voices that have gone mostly unheard.