Fight For Your Individual Freedoms
What we’re experiencing is not a coincidental spike in U.S. book bans. This is a coordinated attack on our freedom to read.
The threat of challenged literature continues to affect the U.S. Here’s what you need to know about intellectual freedom and why it’s essential to support your local library and librarians.
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An Unprecedented Crisis
Throughout 2021–2022, book challenges and bans have escalated. A recent report by PEN America revealed that most of these challenges come from a network of groups. These groups have called for the removal of books from library shelves. In other words, this is no longer a coincidental spike in U.S. book bannings — this is a direct attack on literature.
Let’s review the meaning of intellectual freedom. According to the American Library Association (ALA), intellectual freedom is the right of every person to seek and receive all information without restriction. Thus, intellectual freedom is not only beneficial for others, but it’s also advantageous for you! More specifically, intellectual freedom is a sub-category of the first amendment of the U.S. constitution.
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Book Banning is Censorship
There’s no sugar-coating it — if you initiate a ban on any source of information, you’re contributing to censorship. Censorship is “the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons — individuals, groups or government officials — find objectionable or dangerous.”
Current data reveals a concerning pattern of censoring materials containing LGTBQIA+ themes and people of color at a disproportionate rate. Are people challenging these books because they’re problematic or because they make them personally uncomfortable?
As a reminder, intellectual freedom means you’re allowed to feel uncomfortable about a piece of literature. By all means, set that book back on the shelf if it falls outside your comfort zone — that doesn’t give you the authority to make that decision for others. Sometimes the best books are the ones that challenge you.
Supporting Intellectual Freedom Means Advocating for Librarians
Librarians are at the front lines of the fight against banned books, but they can’t do it alone. The good news is that most U.S. voters oppose book bannings and express confidence in librarians’ decisions across the country. If you support intellectual freedom for all, advocate for your local librarians and visit our website.