EveryLibrary signs on to Veto Letter in Utah

The Let Utah Read Coalition, which includes EveryLibrary, The Utah Library Association, Pen America, and the ACLU, have sent a letter to Utah's Governor Spencer Cox asking him to veto HB29, which passed the legislature on February 21st.  

The letter has generated positive press coverage in the Salt Lake Tribune and KSL News

Utah legislators passed HB29, claiming that that librarians are distributing porn and should suffer criminal “consequences” for having books like Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison’s book The Bluest Eye, Judy Blume’s Forever, and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian on high school library shelves. All of these books have been banned from high school libraries because they were deemed in violation of the “bright line rule” in Utah’s “Sensitive Materials” law, and therefore classified by legislators as pornography.

Read the veto letter here

If the Governor signs HB29 into law, it will require ALL schools to purge books like these from their shelves if a handful of school districts anywhere in the state decide to ban the book. The bill also introduces more vague language that puts librarians, teachers, and school board members in legal jeopardy for having classic works of literature on high school library shelves.

In addition to the veto letter, EveryLibrary is hosting a Let Utah Read email campaign to the Governor. The email campaign has generated over 1350 actions. Utah legislative session ends on March 1, and the Governor may sign or veto bills through March 21. If he takes no action, the bill is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2024. If the Governor vetoes the bill, the legislature has the option of beginning an override session anytime through April 30.

EveryLibrary offers platforms and digital marketing support for petitions, email campaigns, letter-to-the-editor campaigns, as well as a robust organizing platform (fightforthefirst.org) pro bono to groups, organizations, and coalitions working to support libraries and oppose censorship in their communities. If you would like assistance organizing a grassroots group in your community, or launching a campaign to support or defend your library, please contact EveryLibrary for a free consultation