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Banning Books: A Worrisome Reality

The threat of banning books is worrisome. If just one individual raises a concern about the contents of a book, it is banned in the blink of an eye. That is all it takes. The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom reports that there were more than 1500 individual book challenges in 2021.  

“This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials. Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information, and librarians and teachers are under attack for doing their jobs,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “It’s time that policymakers understood the severity of this issue. ALA is taking the steps necessary to protect individuals’ access to information, but we can’t do this alone.” 

It is gratifying to see mounting pressure being applied to those who want to ban books. Several individuals and organizations are working to protect our freedom to turn a page. Here are a few examples of those working to minimize the harm done by banning books.

-Johnny Weir, the two-time Olympian, recently pledged $1,000 to the public library in his hometown of Quarryville PA.  Fulton Township, where the library is located, provided an annual contribution of $1000. to the library. This year they changed their mind due to the LGBTQ + material that was available.  Weir promised to contribute this amount for as many years as he could.

-The singer, Pink, gave away 2,000 free copies of books that have been “banned” by some schools in Florida to fans at her concerts in Miami. Florida is pulling ahead of Texas for banning more books in school library than any other state. There has been a 33% spike in book bans nationally, and Florida accounts for more than 40% of all documented ones, according to PEN America.

-Pride and Less prejudice is an organization dedicated to building more inclusive classrooms for all students. “When children see people like themselves in books, they get a glimpse of who they might become, and they feel validated.”

Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of our Country. The slippery slope of censorship harms everyone. The American Library Association and Association of American publishers wrote a freedom to read statement. The link to read is below so that you may review it and sign it if you agree that protecting our freedom to read is vital to our democracy.

Freedom to Read Statement