Book Banning Challenges throughout the US
Take a look at the latest efforts to ban books and what people are doing to fight back.
With every news cycle and legislative session, it seems that a new facet of book banning finds its way into the media. Book banning is a dangerous practice that is gaining greater traction in American libraries and schools, and prosecution related to banned books is a real and serious threat.
With this in mind, here is our roundup of the top articles about book bans to keep you informed and alerted about what is happening to libraries, librarians, and library patrons.
Impacts on Librarians
Book bans don’t just impact the millions of Americans who use public libraries and the millions of children who use school libraries; the violent rhetoric around the movements to ban certain books have major impacts on librarians. Many librarians now worry about their health and well-being, thanks to threats from people who want to ban books. These articles discuss how librarians are targeted and what that may mean for library science as a field.
“School Librarians Vilified as the ‘Arm of Satan’ in Book-Banning Wars” | LA Times | January 27, 2023
This piece describes the struggles school librarians currently face with the recent pushes for book banning legislation.
“Florida Teachers Are Emptying Classroom Libraries to Avoid Going to Jail” | Vice | January 31, 2023
A proposed Florida law will mark teachers as criminals for having banned books in their classroom collections. As a result, they’re hiding their books.
“With Rising Book Bans, Librarians Have Come Under Attack” | The New York Times | July 18, 2022
Librarians are facing unprecedented levels of scrutiny with the recent push for book banning. It’s time we found out why.
“Opinion: The School Library Used to be a Sanctuary. Now it’s a Battleground.” | CNN | October 31, 2022
The push for banning queer literature has turned school libraries into legislative battlegrounds—listen to librarian Martha Hicks’ story about how her library is facing these changes.
Sign the petition to fight book bans!
Book Ban Resistance
Fortunately, not everybody wants to ban books. These articles cover some of the ways that parents, citizens, free speech advocates, and, of course, librarians are fighting back against the book ban onslaught.
“Book Lovers Stage Read-In At State Capitol for ‘Let Utah Read’” | PEN America | January 26, 2023
Check out this fantastic demonstration at the Utah capitol, where readers protest for their right to read what they want!
“Banning Coding Books Will Only Make Parents Fight Harder for Them” | Gizmodo | September 29, 2022
This tech piece features the author of Girls Who Code, explaining how and why students, teachers, and readers everywhere will still find a way to get ahold of banned books.
“Fuel Up for the Fight: Resources to Push Back on Censorship Efforts” | School Library Journal | January 24, 2023
Check out this excellent list of resources for helping your community fight against censorship and book bans!
“As Bills in Multiple States Threaten Librarians with Criminalization, Advocates Are Fighting Back” | School Library Journal | March 6, 2023
This hopeful piece details how library advocates are fighting back against book banning legislation.
Send an email to your Representatives to show your support for libraries!
Book bans are an attack on free speech and many of the other rights Americans enjoy, but they also are fraught with other legal entanglements and concerns. These articles cover some of the ways that book bans are part of larger legal issues, particularly discrimination.
“Analysis: The Lesson from Pence’s (and Biden’s) Closets: The Government Classifies Way Too Many Things” | LA Times | January 27, 2023
The recent discovery of classified documents at the president's and former vice president’s homes brings up a new question: Why are so many documents classified in the first place?
“New Report Links Rise in Book Bans to Anti-LGBTQ Groups” | Vice | September 20, 2022
This Vice article explains the correlation between the push for banning LGBTQ+ books and LGBTQ+ hate groups.
“Are Book Bans Discrimination? Biden Administration To Test New Legal Theory” | The Washington Post | January 13, 2023
The Washington Post brings up a good point here: Does limiting access to books count as a Title IX violation? See what the Biden administration has to say on the matter.
Our public and school libraries are facing numerous unprecedented challenges that threaten free speech and may throttle educational opportunities. Now more than ever, it is vital that librarians, parents, and concerned citizens pay attention to the legislative challenge that our libraries are facing. EveryLibrary is proud to support outreach and education efforts by keeping you informed. For more information, follow our legislation monitoring page, where we track every piece of library-related and book banning legislation limiting your ability to choose what you want to read.
Visit www.everylibrary.org to learn more about our work on behalf of libraries.
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