The words “A Conversation about Book Challenges” on a light green background with the logo for Down Time with Cranston Public Library to the right of it. The logo is a pair of bright green headphones over a light blue stack of books.

A Conversation about Book Challenges

The Cranston Public Library in Cranston, RI hosts a weekly podcast titled Down Time with Cranston Public Library where they talk with librarians, library workers and community members about a variety of topics. On February 15th, 2022 they spoke with Martin Garnar, director of the Amherst College Library, and Marianne Mirando, the Librarian from Westerly High School in Westerly, RI to talk about the recent increase in book challenges across the country. They discussed what it means for a book to be challenged in a school or public library and what you can do to protect intellectual freedom in your community. This post is an excerpt from their conversation.

NHV LGBTQ+ Equality Movement

Jude Gepp, New Jersey Student, Advocates for Inclusivity and LGBTQ+ Equality from School Board

“Every voice matters, even if you don’t think yours does.” Read this interview with Jude Gepp, sophomore at North Hunterdon High School, New Jersey, who is currently engaged in speaking at board meetings, sending emails to the board for creating more inclusive learning environments, and maintaining their own website to inform the community about the LGBTQ+ equality movement.

The words “Problematic Author Q and A” on a light blue background with images of two pens and a piece of paper next to it.

Addressing Challenges to Books by Problematic Authors Q&A – A Summary

A common concern among librarians and other information professionals is how to handle materials written by individuals wrapped up in some type of controversy, whether that be political statements they have made publicly, crimes or misconduct that they have been accused of, or where they have donated or invested their money. This post will summarize a Q&A that provides guidance selecting, weeding and addressing challenges to these types of materials.

Martha Hickson

Martha Hickson, Students, and School Board Save 5 Challenged Titles

Five diverse titles were recently challenged in North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, New Jersey. Read this interview with award-winning school librarian Martha Hickson to learn more about how she engaged in successful advocacy using community resources and students to help insure students’ intellectual freedom rights.

2022

From Book Banning to Broadband, What’s New in 2022?

Issues relating to intellectual freedom continue to dominate news stories, including debates on critical race theory, LGTBQ materials, academic freedom, and broadband access. In the past several months various state governments have passed bills targeting school curriculum. Fueled by misinterpretations of Critical Race Theory, this has led to numerous attempts to censor or ban books that discuss race. Books discussing gender and sexuality, mainly those with LGBTQ themes, have also been targeted such as when residents in Wyoming attempted to file criminal charges against library staff. Academic freedom of faculty on college campuses are also under fire, whether for curriculum concerns (related to aforementioned bills targeting Critical Race Theory) or for providing expertise outside their capacity as an educator. Broadband access continues to be an issue as many Americans continue to rely on the internet for work, education, or various other essential functions.