Monday, February 26, 2024

An Open Book Test


Libraries are for everyone. Most of the time when I say those words they give me a very good feeling. Today? Not so much. 

Tonight at 6:30 pm there will be a Moms For Liberty meeting at the Central Branch Library. Their guest speaker is a self-proclaimed expert in book banning based on their success in Carroll County. Additionally, this meeting serves as a kick-off event to challenge books in HCPSS libraries.

Libraries are for everyone. That means that, if they offer spaces for local community groups to meet, they must be committed to be even-handed about it. The startling juxtaposition of a library having any association whatsoever with censorship and book banning is pretty painful to me. It just feels wrong. 

But, libraries do more than talk the talk. I guess this is walking the walk. I have to hope that there are some limits on the library’s open door policy. If there were a diy make your own gun club for the purpose of, say, shooting people whose political views are different than one’s own, I would hope that they couldn’t meet at the library. 

I feel very strongly that M4L is causing harm wherever they crop up. They are attempting to negate the work of skilled and educated library professionals. They are also casting aspersions on their intent. Imagine what that means to school librarians. They are being told that their experience and years of training are worth nothing and that they are doing the work they do to harm young people.

Of course both of these things are false. They are also demoralizing.

When I wrote about the death of Nex Benedict on Friday and asked, “How did we get here?” I received a blunt reply from a reader. Here is a part of it:

You ask, "How on earth did we get here?"

The answer is that good people are just standing by and letting it happen, letting oppressive laws be passed, letting an atmosphere persist where telling lies about trans people is normalized to the point that most people believe them.

M4L goes after library materials that support LGBTQ+ students and families but they also have been known to go after materials that tell the truth about American History. In places where they have had success perhaps too many good people have stood by and just let it happen. 

Don’t let it happen here. 

Libraries are for everyone. They host meeting space for everyone. That means that peaceful protest is equally welcome. What kind of message would plainly tell M4L that their mission to suppress knowledge and learning is not welcome here?

Do you support students being able to find the materials they need in their school libraries? I do.

Libraries are for everyone.

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