Americans United for Separation of Church and State

10/05/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/05/2023 07:30

Do you want to protect our public libraries from Christian Nationalists? Here are some ideas.

During Banned Books Week, it's easy to read about outrageous instances of censorship - seriously, they banned Shakespeare in parts of Florida - and feel discouraged.

It's important to move beyond that. What can you do to stop Christian Nationalists from removing books they don't like from your public schools and libraries? Here are some specific ideas:

Harness the power of the majority: The American people don't support banning books. A poll taken by Every Library Institute makes that abundantly clear. A measly 8% of voters said they believe "there are many books that are inappropriate and should be banned." Opposition to book bans cut across political lines.

Show up: Take the time to attend local government meetings and speak up for books that are under attack. It can make a real difference, as these people in Carver County, Minn., proved recently. Moms for Liberty and similar book banners need to know they have a fight on their hands - and your local librarians need to know that you have their backs.

Talk to lawmakers: In states like Florida and Texas, legislators have passed laws making it easier to ban books. Laws can also be passed making it more difficult, and some states have done that. Tired of being on the defensive? Seize the offensive!

Pay attention to local politics: Who runs your local library board? How do people get seated on that board? The process varies from community to community. In some places, board members are appointed by county commissioners or other local officials. In others, they are directly elected. Find out what's going on in your area. If the board members are appointed, ask whoever is appointing them what kind of people they believe are good candidates. Consider getting on a board yourself. (This article has some good tips.)

Join a lawsuit: Florida's book bans are being challenged in court. Among the plaintiffs are two parents whose children attend public schools in Pensacola. Depending on your status in a given community, you might be able to join a legal effort in the event that any are filed.

This column has some more ideas. Christian Nationalist book banners are hoping you'll do nothing. Don't give them that satisfaction.