February 3, 2023

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Blogazine on Books, Arts, and Music

Book Censorship News, January 6, 2023

As we mark the two-year anniversary of the day that far-right terrorists attempted to overthrow American democracy, it seems appropriate to talk a little about the groups across the country that are working to make democracy a fundamental right for every single person in this country country remains. We are well into the second year of seeing books by and about queer people and people of color being demeaned, belittled, and ripped off public libraries and school shelves, thanks to groups — and people associated with groups — like those who took part in the uprisings . Everyone who does this work knows, of course, that this is not about the books. It never was and never will be, and no amount of request that these people read the books or spend time in the classroom is going to change their minds. You are part of a well funded cult.

However, this is the year when people fighting for the rights of all want to be heard.

Over the past year, several grassroots parental and professional anti-censorship groups have worked hard to have a voice in local, state, and national policies related to the book ban. These include groups like the Florida Freedom to Read Project (who have given incredible tips on starting a local anti-censorship group), the FREADom Fighters in Texas, Louisiana Citizens Against Censorship, North Hunterdon-Voorhees Intellectual Freedom Fighters (New Jersey), and Moms for Social Justice (Tennessee). This is just a tiny fraction of the groups out there working to protect freedom of reading and freedom of thought. Now is the time, not only to find the other groups that are doing this work across the country, but to share that information, others who are willing to fight for everyone’s rights can do just that.

As with the database of book banning groups shared here, this database will need contributions from those working toward anti-censorship goals. Additionally, it could include groups that have a broader scope than just making sure books aren’t banned — groups like the Defense of Democracy, Students Rights Coalition, PEN America, and EveryLibrary fall into this category.

If you are part of one of these anti-censorship groups or know one in your area, let us hear about it. This database is not shared publicly as some of the questions contain personal information. But the list of anti-censorship groups, their locations, and their web presence (social media or websites) will be shared in the coming weeks to help people willing to join the fight.

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Book censorship news: January 6, 2023

Due to the holidays, this week’s recap is the shortest on record for this news. Don’t take that as good news, though: we’re about to see a wave.

80 books are under fire at Hermon Middle School, Maine. A little Google shows right wing joints claim this school had all kinds of LGBTQ+ book shows and “transformed” a kid, so it’s hard not to see the connection. The Keene Memorial Library (Nebraska) has moved seven sex education books from the children’s to the adult section of the public library. Still censorship. This is a story about how schools in the St. Cloud, Minnesota area have yet to experience a wave of book challenges. But there’s something worrying about the fact that one of the schools has a preventative form that needs to be filled out every time a teacher wants to bring a new book or resource into their classroom. This allows for nice, quiet censorship by the administration. Remember when right-wing media tried to take down State Farm for its connection to GenderCool — and it all turned out to be a slew of misinformation left and right to stir up the fanatics? Now they’re doing it for GM. This story has no other purpose. Two Riverside, Illinois residents want gender queers removed from their local public library. “Attorneys for DeSantis state that Pico applies to library book availability, while HB1557 applies only to classroom instruction. While DeSantis attorneys are telling a federal judge that, school librarians are getting a different message.” Are we surprised the Florida governor is telling library staff a different story than the legal department? Speaking of Florida, here’s what’s happening with the body that determines how library staff are trained to do their own jobs. Spoilers: It’s a mess. This is a whole story about how the police should deal with book complaints (Louisiana). The two new schools in Polk County, Fla. will still not have books available as the board waits for “conservative groups” to review all titles. WE LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE A CONSERVATIVE GROUP CAN DELAY FILLING TWO SCHOOL LIBRARIES. This group has no background or experience in education, literacy, or child development, but they do have that kind of power. Of course, the journalist doesn’t bother to call the group by its name. David drinks the Kool Aid and has some poor literacy skills. But go ahead David. The newspaper knows they don’t have to print everything they get from the public, right? (He’s crazy about gender queers in a Massachusetts school). A formal complaint against several books has been filed with the Old Rochester Regional School District (Massachusetts, as above). This initiates the formal review. Meanwhile, this letter is revealing: The Salmon River Joint School District (Idaho) apparently experienced a series of “books on a list” book challenges from one of its own school board members, disliked the response he received, and then had a falling out with the administration about that. The update on this challenge will be here next week, but do you know that Let’s Talk About It was discussed Thursday night at the Valley City Barnes County Public Library (North Dakota). Set Your Anti-Censorship Resolutions: Book Censorship News December 30, 2022 The Very Real Trauma of Book Bans: Book Censorship News December 23, 2022 AI Is Not the Threat to High School English. Censorship is: Book Censorship News, December 16, 2022 What is false, misinformation and misinformation?: Book Censorship News, December 9, 2022 The term “culture war” is journalistic negligence: Book Censorship News, December 2, 2022 book rating systems are no solution: Book Censorship News, November 25, 2022 My Book and 300+ others are banned in Missouri: Book Censorship News, November 18, 2022 The Holocaust has no two sides: Book Censorship News, November 11, 2022 Book banners are a weapon for legitimate resources: Book Censorship News, October 28, 2022