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A Librarian Fights Back

Amanda Jones book, That Librarian

A librarian in Louisiana is speaking out about her experiences battling book bans.

Amanda Jones received death threats and experienced harassment, bullying, and more after making a speech against book censorship at her local library board in July 2022. She became one of the first librarians in the US to file a defamation lawsuit against her detractors.

Jones is telling her story in her debut memoir, “That Librarian: The Fight Against Book Banning in America,” which will be released later this summer. The book details Jones’ fight against censorship in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, and of the rise in attacks on librarians and intellectual freedom across the US.

Battling her critics and standing up for the right to read has taken its toll on Jones, but she’s hoping her experiences can help others.

“I cried a lot, then decided to fight back,” she told The Guardian. “I hope librarians can read my book and feel like they’re not alone.”

When Jones went public with her story, hundreds of other librarians reached out to her describing similar experiences. She decided to join professional boards, conference panels, and associations like the American Library Association to speak out about the hate they faced. In 2023, Oprah Winfrey praised Jones’s work at the National Book Awards.

“The people that harassed me, they still post about me all the time, sometimes five times a day,” Jones said, before adding: “True power, though, is the ability to live rent-free in someone else’s head when you don’t think about them at all.” She credits this as her favorite line in the book.

Read Jones’ full conversation with The Guardian here.

Take action

Alarmed by the escalating attempts to censor books? Here are five steps you can take now to protect the freedom to read.

  1. Follow news and social media in your community and state to keep apprised of organizations working to censor library or school materials.
  2. Show up for library workers at school or library board meetings and speak as a library advocate and community stakeholder who supports a parent’s right to restrict reading materials for their own child but not for all.
  3. Help provide a safety net for library professionals as they defend intellectual freedom in their communities by giving to the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund.
  4. Educate friends, neighbors, and family members about censorship and how it harms communities. Share information from Banned Books Week.
  5. Join the Unite Against Book Bans movement and visit our Fight Censorship page to learn what you can do to defend the freedom to read in your community.

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