Recently, I was able to speak to Ms. Larson regarding this situation. Her commitment to intellectual freedom and dedication to fostering an antiracist learning environment for her students is evident in her discussion of the challenge to Stamped. Not every educator is in the position to fight back against a challenge: it can be a risk to their professional reputation or even their job security. But if they’re able to do so, it always makes a difference, even if censorship prevails in that particular incident. As Ms. Larson states below: “Fight for the kids. They will know. They always know.”
I’m relieved that Juan Vidal is not a librarian. The condescending and short-sighted tone of his article “Your Bookshelf May Be Part of the Problem” is so anathema to librarianship and the joy of reading it made my face contort.
When we provide library patrons with books that tell a fuller story about Asian American experience, we can help eliminate the conditions in which ignorance and fear flourish.
Literature can provide youth and their teachers with meaningful tools for coping, discussing, and understanding. Library professionals have a duty to protect that access.
The fight echoes the battles libraries have long fought regarding content versus access. These issues are likely to show up in libraries yet again.