Furries Are Fighting for Libraries and Library Boards May Be Faking Book Challenges
In the last few weeks we've seen dozens of new attacks on libraries. We're working on quite a few of them. Luckily, we have found just as many new allies to help fight for libraries. From furries to suburban women, Americans are rallying to fight for libraries and their right to access information.
Are Radical Library Board Members Faking Book Challenges?
It appears that library board members in Montana faked a book challenge in order to run out the director and re-write the library policies to fit their radical political ideologies. This came to light through some amazing investigative reporting from the local newspaper, The Flathead Beacon, which requested emails in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The documents obtained by that request revealed that the Board Members most likely created a false-flag book challenge and then used that challenge to further their aims of ousting the director and changing policies to fit their political agenda. You can read this incredible piece of journalism here. We're providing pro-bono support to the local Flathead County Library Alliance to help them with their efforts to protect and preserve the library, and ensure good governance -- so stay tuned for this fight!
A Win In New Jersey
Spurred by a coordinated, conservative censorship campaign that has spread nationwide, news outlets have repeated lurid accusations against libraries and librarians as purveyors of child pornography.
In the North Hunterdon-Voorhees school district, the NH-V Intellectual Freedom Fighters (NHVIFF), a dedicated group of parents, residents, and educators, came together to campaign against the ban and to support the school librarian. This campaign started last September for school librarian Martha Hickson when parents launched an attack on Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison at their high school district’s board of education meeting.
Martha and her supporters worked with EveryLibrary's Executive Director, John Chrastka, and the New Jersey Association of School Librarians to craft new messaging and then generate letters to the board requesting communication, transparency, and resolution. They planned a digital action campaign which included an online petition and tools to identify community supporters to rally them into action. You can read Martha's full article here in School Library Journal.
Email your State Representatives to fight against book banning in the United States.
Tracking Legislation That Would Incarcerate Librarians and Ban Books
Politicians in state legislatures across the country have filed bills that are detrimental to our school libraries and public libraries. There are important and troubling patterns in how these bills are designed. Some of the proposed legislation goes as far as encouraging the incarceration of librarians as well as eliminating the oversight role that locally elected and appointed school boards and public libraries have with materials challenges. In other cases, bills expand the definitions of prohibited speech for educators, which effectively silences them. You can view our national tracking of this kind of anti-American legislation here.
Red, Wine, and Blue's Book Ban Buster Campaign
We're excited to partner with Red Wine and Blue on their Book Ban Busters campaign. Red, Wine, and Blue is a group of women across the suburbs who have been gathering, first to lament, but then to figure out how to change the world together. They are building on this sisterhood, and creating new momentum— with digital content, media, and tools that empower their unique voices and networks.
Right now these women have put together the Book Buster Campaign. They assembled a great map of book challenges from around the country compiled by Dr. Tasslyn Magnusson who put hours into researching these book bans. They are also promoting opportunities for like-minded Americans to learn to fight against censorship in your community, donate banned books, and report bans in your area.
Book Ban Database
If you want more information about Dr. Tasslyn Magnusson's database you can read more and get access to the raw data here from the EveryLibrary Website. We're proud to support Dr. Magnussen's work and help collect and distribute this data on her behalf.
Furries Fight for Libraries and Information Access
The Furry community has come together to fight for libraries!!
We truly are humbled and can't thank this community enough. They helped us raise over $70,000 for the library in Ridgeland, Mississippi where the Mayor was withholding over $100,000 in library funds because he didn't like some of the LGBTQ+ books on the shelves. This fundraising effort by the furry community was so successful that VICE wrote this great piece on it. Thank you again! It means so much to us and this small library.
Help us get the word out.
Petitions in the Field
You might not have seen some of our active petitions in the field right now if you don't live in those communities.
If you live anywhere in the United States you can always send an email to your representatives here to fight against book banning. You can also help by clicking to share the petition on Facebook and Twitter to help us reach more people like you.
The attacks on the freedom to read have come to Utah where a small but vocal group is seeking to ban and remove books in school libraries across the state. They are encouraging parents to call the police and have teachers and librarians arrested for providing access to literature and history books. Please sign and share the petition if you live in Utah!
Kent School District (Washington State)
The principal of the Cedar Heights Middle School circumvented the district’s procedure around challenging books in the library by removing several books from circulation without a review process. Following the review process for school library materials is important because it protects the library and the students from censorship while allowing people with concerns about books to be heard. School districts cannot disregard policies like this and the school board must be involved. This petition is sponsored by a local group of concerned parents, residents, and education stakeholders in the Kent district.
Orange County (Florida)
In Orange County, District Leadership has pulled titles by LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC authors off shelves to the detriment of the children they are intended to serve. A small but vocal group under the guise of “Parents’ Rights” has found themselves with a substantial influence over what information is available to Orange County students. We need your help to ensure our students have the freedom to read. This petition sends an email to the school board.
In the face of all of the difficulties students have with reading, learning, and academic success, the Governor of Iowa is proposing to de-professionalize Iowa school librarians and make school libraries less effective by eliminating professional requirements to be a school librarian. Even as COVID still rages, her strategy is to make it harder for students to get access to professional, high-quality educators such as Teacher Librarians. We are standing with IASL, the Iowa Association of School Librarians, and supporting them with this petition.
We Helped a Library Keep It's Doors Open
We're still working on helping libraries keep their doors open to the public.
Most recently the City of Whitesburg's proposed budget included a 32 percent reduction in funding for the Whitesburg Public Library. If this budget had been passed by the Mayor and City Council it would have resulted in the closure of the library as County and State funding also would have been lost.
Luckily we were able to work with local advocates who mounted a petition on our action.everylibrary.org platform. The community of just over 500 residents sent nearly 300 emails in support of library funding! The West Georgia Regional Library System and the City of Whitesburg reached a tentative agreement to increase the proposed library budget to ensure that the City's funding of the Whitesburg Public Library will be enough in 2022 to keep it open.
If Your Library Needs Help
Did you know that everything we do for libraries is done pro-bono?
Most libraries don't have the funding they need to defend themselves and in many cases the local library is not allowed to advocate for itself for any number of reasons.
Library campaigns are also often waged by good American citizens who simply want access to libraries for themselves, their families, and their communities. They are not political operatives.
Unfortunately, we're seeing libraries attacked by coordinated organizations with tremendous resources, data, funding, and well-trained political staff.
It's donations from supporters like you who helped us fight all of these fights. Your donations allow us to;
- Provide one-on-one training for local advocates and ballot committees
- Provide access to some of the most advanced political tech to library advocates
- Spend thousands of dollars on putting petitions and actions in front of Americans
- Make direct contributions to library campaigns and elections
- Help libraries raise the money they need to keep their doors open and continue serving their communities.
If your library needs help, please reach out to us! We'd love to hear from you and help you ensure that your library can keep its books on the shelves and its door open to the public.
The best part is that it's all free.
Patrick "PC" Sweeney
As a 501(c)4 organization, contributions to EveryLibrary are not tax deductible. However, if you'd like to make a larger tax-deductible donation to the EveryLibrary Institute (our 501c3) to support our research and training for librarians, please visit everylibraryinstitute.org
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