This article by Brooks Rainwater is published by Bloomberg. Here is an excerpt:
In August, voters in Jamestown, Michigan, chose to defund the small township’s library rather than allow certain books to be read.
Like many other similar recent culture-war attacks against libraries, this one centered on the availability of LGBTQ-themed material: After the board of the Patmos Public Library refused to ban a memoir by the nonbinary writer and artist Maia Kobabe, local conservative groups launched a campaign against the library and its staff, ultimately leading to the defeat of a property tax measure that the library depends on for most of its funding. While donations in support have poured in from around the world, the library may be forced to shut its doors next year.
Similar stories have emerged from Llano County, Texas, where the head librarian at the Kingsland Branch Library lost her job rather than remove books, including a biography of a transgender teen, that some residents deemed objectionable. At the Campbell County Public Library in Wyoming, residents sought to bring charges against the library director and board for the crime of “offering for dissemination obscene material,” because there were books on the shelf like “Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy” and “How Do You Make a Baby?”
The battle to protect democracy is a global struggle playing out at the local level, and libraries have landed on the front lines. These are places that help people to understand the wider world and move beyond their political and social bubbles. At a time when democratic norms are under sustained attack in the US and around the world, the need for openness to new ideas is greater than ever.
Read the full article here.