Time: ‘We’re Preparing For a Long Battle.’ Librarians Grapple With Conservatives’ Latest Efforts to Ban Books

We’ve all been following Texas … a good read from Time. It’s all very Nathaniel Hawthorne

They write

On Nov. 8, two members of a Virginia school board called for a book burning.

During a board meeting that evening, the Spotsylvania County Public School Board unanimously ordered its school libraries to begin removing “sexually explicit” books, after a concerned parent raised concerns about titles available via a library app.

As the Free Lance-Star reported on Nov. 9:

While the school board is revisiting the decision after its attorney called it unconstitutional, the comments—and the fact that members tried to do such a review to begin with—are an extreme example of a trend that’s alarming librarians and free speech activists. (Abuismail and Twigg did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TIME.) Only a few months into the school year, librarians say efforts to ban books are on the rise and mark a new chapter in the history of attempts to censor books.

Since September, school libraries in at least seven states have removed books challenged by community members. Among the books most frequently targeted are Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970), George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto (2020), Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer: A Memoir (2019), Jonathan Evison’s Lawn Boy (2018), and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006). Most of the challenged books so far, across fiction and non-fiction, are about race and LGBTQ identities.

“We’re seeing an unprecedented volume of challenges,” says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Executive Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “I’ve worked for ALA for 20 years, and I can’t recall a time when we had multiple challenges coming in on a daily basis.”

The American Library Association deals with efforts to ban books every school year. In fact, classics are regular fixtures on its list of top 10 most challenged books—from John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird to Toni Morrison’s Beloved. But the latest challenges come at a time when school boards nationwide have been bombarded with questions about whether schools are teaching “critical race theory”—a decades-old academic framework rarely taught below the graduate level that scholars use to look at how legal systems and other institutions perpetuate racism and exclusion.

Read more.  https://time.com/6117685/book-bans-school-libraries/