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The Week in Libraries: September 22, 2023

In “The Week in Libraries: September 22, 2023,” recent events in the world of libraries highlight the ongoing battle against book censorship and promote the importance of providing diverse and inclusive programming and materials. From a judge in Washington rejecting an attempt to close a local library to a Colorado librarian receiving a substantial settlement after refusing to censor LGBTQ content, these incidents showcase the resilience and dedication of librarians in defending intellectual freedom. Furthermore, the announcement of LeVar Burton as the honorary chair for Banned Books Week underscores the continued need for advocacy and dialogue surrounding censorship issues. These stories, along with others from various states, shed light on the challenges faced by libraries and the importance of upholding their role in fostering knowledge and understanding within the community.

The Week in Libraries: September 22, 2023

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Library News

Judge rejects bid to close local library

In a victory for library supporters, a judge in Washington has rejected a bid by book banners to force a vote on closing the local library. The book banners had sought to shut down the library, claiming that it contained materials they deemed inappropriate or offensive. However, the judge ruled that the library plays a crucial role in the community and provides valuable resources and services to its patrons. This decision is a testament to the importance of preserving access to information and promoting intellectual freedom.

Librarian awarded $250,000 for refusing to censor LGBTQ programming

In a significant legal win, a Colorado librarian who was fired after refusing to censor LGBTQ programming has been awarded $250,000. The librarian stood strong in the face of pressure to restrict access to materials that support and represent the LGBTQ community. This landmark settlement sends a powerful message that librarians and library staff have the right to uphold intellectual freedom and provide inclusive programming without fear of retaliation or discrimination.

Alabama’s state librarian defends ALA against right-wing attacks

The American Library Association (ALA) has faced criticism and attacks from right-wing groups in recent times. In a show of support and determination, Alabama’s state librarian has stepped forward to defend the ALA and its mission. The state librarian has emphasized the importance of free access to information and the right for individuals to explore diverse perspectives. This defense serves as a reminder that libraries play a crucial role in facilitating an informed and democratic society.

Banned Books Week

LeVar Burton announced as honorary chair

Banned Books Week, an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read and highlights the ongoing issue of censorship, has announced that LeVar Burton will serve as its honorary chair. Known for his role as host of the acclaimed children’s television series “Reading Rainbow,” Burton has long been an advocate for literacy and education. His involvement in Banned Books Week will undoubtedly bring attention to the importance of intellectual freedom and the dangers of censorship.

Book banners continue to threaten library funding

Despite the progress made in advocating for intellectual freedom, book banners continue to pose a threat to library funding. These individuals and groups actively seek to defund or close libraries, often targeting materials they consider controversial or objectionable. It is essential for library supporters and advocates to remain vigilant in defending the vital resources and services that libraries provide to their communities.

CILIP releases guidelines on controversial materials

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has released guidelines addressing the handling of controversial materials in libraries. The guidelines emphasize that a “good library” should encompass a range of viewpoints and controversial issues. It further states that material should not be rejected solely on the basis that it is considered contentious. This proactive step by CILIP serves as a valuable resource for librarians when navigating the complexities surrounding controversial materials in their collections.

Settlement of $250,000 for fired Colorado librarian

As mentioned earlier, a Colorado librarian who was fired for refusing to cancel programs for youth of color and LGBTQ teens has received a settlement of $250,000. This significant financial compensation not only acknowledges the injustices faced by the librarian but also serves as a reminder that censorship and discrimination have no place in libraries. The settlement sends a strong message that librarians should be supported and protected in their efforts to provide inclusive and diverse programming.

The Week in Libraries: September 22, 2023

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Library Celebrations

Salt Lake City’s Main Library celebrates 125-year history

The Main Library in Salt Lake City is commemorating its 125-year history, marking a significant milestone for the institution. Over the years, the Main Library has been a pillar of knowledge and community engagement, providing a wide range of resources and services to the public. Its anniversary celebration serves as a reminder of the library’s enduring legacy and its commitment to serving the informational, educational, and cultural needs of the community.

Local Initiatives

Students in suburban Chicago fight book bans

In the ongoing battle against book bans, students in suburban Chicago have formed a group to actively fight against censorship. These students recognize the value of a diverse and inclusive reading environment and are determined to protect their right to choose what they read. Their initiative serves as a powerful reminder that advocating for intellectual freedom is not limited to librarians and professionals but can be championed by individuals from all walks of life.

Various incidents of book bans in Virginia, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Utah

Unfortunately, book bans and challenges continue to occur in various locations across the United States. Recent incidents in Virginia, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Utah have highlighted the persistent threats to intellectual freedom. These bans restrict access to a wide range of materials, depriving readers of diverse perspectives and stifling the free exchange of ideas. It is crucial for communities to remain vigilant and steadfast in defending the fundamental right to access information without censorship.

The Week in Libraries: September 22, 2023

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Advocacy and Defense

Nancy Pack defends Alabama’s membership in ALA

Nancy Pack, the director of the Alabama Public Library Service, has robustly defended the state’s membership in the American Library Association (ALA). In the face of attacks from right-wing groups, Pack has emphasized the importance of the ALA’s mission and its role in promoting intellectual freedom and the right to access information. Her defense serves as a rallying cry for libraries across the nation to stand united against censorship and uphold the principles of democracy and free expression.

LeVar Burton to lead live virtual conversation on censorship and advocacy

LeVar Burton, renowned actor and literacy advocate, will be leading a live virtual conversation focused on censorship and advocacy. This event serves as a platform to discuss the ongoing challenges faced by libraries and patrons in their fight against censorship. By bringing together voices from various backgrounds, this conversation aims to inspire and empower individuals to actively engage in advocating for intellectual freedom and the preservation of libraries as democratic spaces.