ALA President Discusses Impact of "Weaponization of Libraries" | Censorship News

Emily Drabinski shares the impact of personal attacks and those on libraries across the country; librarians fear new, punitive laws; Alaska school book removal lawsuit goes to federal court; and more in Censorship News.

'It's Been Devastating': A Q&A With The Top Librarian on Fighting Book Bans | Huffington Post
"The weaponization of a bludgeon that’s scaring people everywhere," said American Library Association president Emily Drabinski.

Librarians Fear New Penalties, Even Prison, as Activists Challenge Books | Associated Press
Public and school libraries have been inundated with complaints from community members and conservative organizations. Increasingly, lawmakers are considering new punishments—crippling lawsuits, hefty fines, and even imprisonment—for distributing books some regard as inappropriate.

Alaska District’s Book Ban Goes to Federal Judge for Oral Arguments | Alaska Public Media
A U.S. District Court judge heard arguments on whether to grant an injunction in a lawsuit over the Matanuska-Borough (AK) School District’s decision to remove 56 books from school libraries. The American Civil Liberties Union and Northern Justice Project sued on behalf of eight plaintiffs, claiming the district’s removal of library books without prior review was unconstitutional and violated the free speech rights of students. The lawsuit alleges that the district sought to suppress ideas they did not agree with, as many of the books contain LGBTQIA+ or non-white characters.

Idaho Libraries Must Move Materials Deemed Harmful to Children, or Face Lawsuits, Under New Law | Idaho Capital Sun
The governor’s office received over 7,000 emails and calls in opposition to House Bill 710, and about 4,250 in favor of the legislation. Despite that, he signed it into law.

Texas Community Pushes Back on Proposal That Would Give Superintendent the Power to Pull Books from Libraries | ABC 13
Community members spoke up and the policy was removed from the Fort Bend (TX) ISD school board agenda and pushed back for further discussion.

Virginia County School Board Unanimously Votes to Keep the Bible in School Libraries | ABC 8
The Bible will be kept on school library shelves in Hanover County, VA—a unanimous decision made by the Hanover County School Board, which has the final say about what books remain or are removed in school libraries, according to the school district’s library materials policy, which was adopted in June of 2023.

Podcast: LA Nonprofit Puts Banned LGBTQ Books in School Libraries | KCRW
Open Books is giving what it calls “LGBTQ+ affirming literature” to public schools, including every elementary campus in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Targeted Books Will Remain in Pennsylvania District’s School Libraries | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Fourteen books challenged in the Pine-Richland (PA) School District will remain available to middle and high school students. The determination came after a months-long review process—the first time the process, laid out in a district policy, was used—to determine the appropriateness of the novels.

Rise in Book Bans is Top of Mind at Public Library Association Conference in Columbus | WYSO
In a packed room at the Greater Columbus (OH) Convention Center, Kent Oliver with the American Library Association’s public policy office asked several hundred librarians a question: “Is anyone here concerned for the future of freedom to read and the First Amendment?” Almost everyone raised a hand.

Tennessee District Board Member Criticized for Lack of Transparency after 18 Books Pulled from School Libraries | WSMV
Community members say the books were removed from Rutherford County (TN) Schools after a school board member emailed a list to the director of schools.

Books Removed from School Libraries in North Carolina District | Mountain Express
Four books have been removed from Enka High School in Buncombe, NC: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, Doing It! Let's Talk About Sex by Hannah Witton, and Tricks by Ellen Hopkins. 

Virginia College Student Holds ‘Banned Book Fair’ | WHSV3
Bridgewater College student Katelin Carter was outraged when the Rockingham County (VA) Public School Board released a list of 57 books to be removed from classroom and library shelves. The college senior decided to organize Bridgewater College’s first ‘Banned Book Fair.’ Held in the campus library, the fair offered several of the 57 titles on the list. All of the books were donated for the event, and attendees could pay as much or as little as they wanted. All proceeds will go to the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Satellite Banned Book Libraries Coming to Tulsa | Fox 23
Queer Lit Collective has created a library of banned books at Tulsa's Dennis R. Neil Center for Equality, but said it has outgrown the space. Through a grant from Tulsa Young Professionals, the organization plans to create five satellite library locations around Tulsa.

Two More Books Banned in Maryland District School Libraries | Baltimore Sun
Carroll County (MD) Public Schools adds Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas and The DUFF by Kody Keplinger to the list of books banned this year.

Knox Co. Schools to Add New Councils and Committees to Review Materials in School Libraries | 10 News
Materials can already be challenged in Knox County (TN) Schools if parents believe they aren't appropriate for students.

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