Reblog: Libraries = Freedom

I found this post by Laura Grace Weldon important to share. As a former librarian and a child who read books that saved my life, I find it absolutely necessary to resist book censorship.

While I agree that we have to consider age-appropriate books, and mental/emotional readiness of readers, and carefully understand our racist, sexist history, and that there are a few stories glorifying terror that should never reach the light of day. I firmly believe we should oppose suppressing valuable books simply because we disagree with one sentence, or one paragraph, or one chapter…

In elementary school, I was reading far above my grade level and placed in the highest reading group with one other person. At home, I had already lived through my parents divorce, lived in a car, and then a shack, and then a house without running water. And endured the foster care system. For me to find stories like the Boxcar Children, Laura Ingalls, Are You There God, The Catcher in the Rye, The Handmaid’s Tale, East of Eden, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings… stories that told of homelessness, poverty, hardship, breasts and periods and other personal traumas and tragedies… helped me to overcome, to think through, and to not feel alone. Life can be downright extremely horrible. And some of us need stories we can relate to, so that we know we can overcome any ugly tragedy thrown our way.

And that’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Please read Laura’s post for more information.

Libraries = Freedom: Resist Book Censorship” — Laura Grace Weldon

“A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft ,and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold, rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but […]

Libraries = Freedom: Resist Book Censorship — Laura Grace Weldon

10 thoughts on “Reblog: Libraries = Freedom

  1. Oh my gosh, Rose, thank you for pointing me to this blog post. What an eloquent and passionate discourse on the scourge of book banning. It’s hard to wrap one’s head around the fact that this is happening now, in 2022. Your introduction to this reblog is equally eloquent and passionate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jane, thank-you for such a wonderful comment. As soon as I read Laura’s post, I felt the need to share. It’s hard to believe that in 2022, we still have the essence of “Fahrenheit 451”.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course as a former children’s and YA librarian I agree with everything you and Laura have to say, and I’ve shared her blog on a Facebook group with former colleagues. We’re fortunate that we don’t get anything like this level of book banning and challenges in the UK, but I certainly experienced complaints from parents from time to time – to which my reply was something on the lines of, you have every right to control and restrict your child’s choice of reading, although I wouldn’t recommend that you do so, but you have no right to control and restrict what all the children in this community can choose to read.

    In the 1980s however Maggie Thatcher’s government introduced an appalling law that forbade the ‘promotion of a homosexual lifestyle’. There were some great YA books emerging at that time featuring gay protagonists, such as Aiden Chambers ‘Dance on my Grave’, and we had internal debates within the library service about whether they could be considered as ‘promoting’ homosexuality, but decided that even if they could, we were going to stock them and make them freely available to our readers. We were never challenged, as far as I recall.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is such a fabulous comment Sarah. Thank-you for sharing Laura’s post with your Facebook group. Your reply to parents is aptly appropriate. I don’t think the public understands that a librarian’s job is to try to reach all the vastly different (potential) readers in their school or community. Librarians often know far more about their community than most. We ‘see’ people, we get to really know our customers, our job is to help them discover the answers they’re seeking. We engage with folks from all walks of life.
      Individuals who promote banning so many books seem to have a very narrow view of the people in their community. They appear to believe that if there’s no mention of anything they don’t want to see, then it’ll magically disappear. When the opposite is oftentimes true. The more we suppress a human being’s right – to know, to learn, to feel understood, to be heard, to be seen… the more we’ll have to deal with later.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You won’t be surprised to hear that I agree 100%. I think a lot of problems (crime, terrorism, ill-treatment of others) are linked to a lack of understanding about difference and similarity. Children aren’t always taught that someone can look different or believe differently but still be a good person to whom you can relate and find things in common. Jo Cox, the English MP who was tragically murdered a few years ago (primarily for opposing Brexit and supporting immigration) famously said that ‘We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us’. Children need to be taught that, and one of the best ways to do so is to introduce them to different ideas and opinions from a young age so that they don’t see them as a threat.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jo Cox, the English MP, her statement is true, and the loss of people like her is so tragic. I’ve heard countless versions of her assertion over the years – how we all have far more in common… I’m grateful to find many others who understand this, as you’ve said “that someone can look different or believe differently but still be a good person to whom you can relate”… I have never heard a librarian or world traveler say the opposite, which makes the truth of it even more evident. And I agree, this is something children should be taught.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent re-blog and quote which I shared on my community’s “Save Our Main Library” Facebook page. Our county is trying to demolish and downsize our downtown library to make room for shops and a hotel. We’re fighting the plan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank-you for sharing Laura’s post. And thank-you for fighting for libraries. The quotes Laura shared by Caitlin Moran and Laia Jufresa were so apt in describing why libraries are needed.

      Liked by 1 person

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