On Monday, the American Library Association (ALA) launched Unite Against Book Bans, a national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.
Why? Because book bans harm communities. Students cannot access critical information to help them understand themselves and the world around them. Parents lose the opportunity to engage in teachable moments with their kids. And communities lose the opportunity to learn and build mutual understanding.
Recent polling confirms that large majorities of voters and parents oppose book bans in public and school libraries, and they have overwhelmingly favorable opinions of public and school libraries. We must join with others and raise our voices together to convey these messages.
Alarmed by the escalating attempts to censor books? Here are four more 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 colleagues 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 readers.
3. Help provide a safety net for library professionals as they work to navigate the intellectual freedom needs of their communities by giving to the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund.
ALA offers direct assistance as well as an array of resources to assist library workers and library advocates in responding to and supporting others facing such challenges. If you’re experiencing a book challenge, please report it to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and let them know if you need assistance.