Of all places, Blue Hill. I tend to think of Maine as sane moderates' heaven. Or it might be that the library doesn't want young progressives from everywhere (and even from "away") marching into town, blocking traffic, and screaming.

If only librarians, teachers, et al. would see things the way J.K. Rowling does: Dress as you please, love whom you want -- but please do not expect the world at large to pretend that gender is assigned, that brawny young men can say they're women and get to swim in women's meets or inhabit women's safe spaces or prisons -- or that 10-year-olds know who they are and what they want from year to year.

This last especially. As a teacher of almost 40 years who often taught the same groups of kids in middle and then upper school, or even in sixth and then seventh grade, it was fun to see how their ideas, goals, peeves, and even nicknames change over the years.

Starting hormones at 12 and undergoing life-changing surgery at 17? I certainly hope Abigail Shrier's book stays on the shelves.

Which doesn't at all mean I want the Christian Right dictating what can be read.

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Thank you for this excellent article. As a publisher of children's fiction that is centered in traditional values, not social agendas, we've seen these shadow bans and pre-censorship firsthand. It's extremely prevalent - especially in the children's section of libraries. 'Old' books that portray traditional values have been weeded out to make room for the 'new' books that support what publishers and librarians want kids to read. The shift has made libraries extremely one-sided in viewpoints. Many thousands of families across the nation no longer take their kids to the library. What a shame! We need to right the ship.

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A very well written article, be great if it could appear as an opinion piece in the NYT or some such.

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Feb 19·edited Feb 19

Thank You - This is so important! "Resisting ideological conformity matters too." Without different points of view, we lose our ability to think critically or engage in honest debate.

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"Book banning" is a dysphemism used by the Left for selecting age-appropriate books for K-12 schools and libraries. It's time for Americans to start boycotting libraries and bookstores that practice bans and censorship. They have been captured by the far left and should be defunded and all support removed until they can be reformed.

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I like to read books from very far left to very far right so that I can try to understand where people are coming from when they argue. Sometimes, I can hate everything about a book or the ideas, but I may come away with a better understanding or even find a little sliver of something worth keeping. It does me no harm to read perspectives I don't share as long as I'm not assigned to read them. And, I don't know if librarians know this or not, but one of my sons hates to read. I promise that putting a book on the shelves will not force a person to retain the material. This needs to be fixed.

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Excellent article!

I noticed you didn't mention the bias in the higher education of future librarians. They are now being trained specifically to be social justice activists in their work, as are graduate students in many other humanities disciplines. It is no wonder that the younger ones are exhibiting such bias, at least.

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I am a member of FAIR Alberta. Several years ago, having suspected these censorship issues were happening at my library, I created an annual event called Book Burning. (This was with an atheist group I had belonged to.) I even found a large cauldron to rent and bought several camping headlamps to flash at different times to imitate the fire. Tissue paper for the flames.

The events were held in a pub, and once in the downtown library. It was to celebrate Canada’s Freedom to Read Week. My board members read from challenged and banned books and we spoke of why we felt this was ridiculous nonsense, dangerous nonsense to censor books. 

I no longer belong to the atheist group that held these events because…..yes, they became woke.

The rise of censorship by librarians and publishing company “censorship readers” I find abhorrent. 

Around 1993 I began my digging into the censorship issue when a series of readers, The Impressions Series, was removed from my daughter’s school. (Calgary) My daughter, in Grade 5 at that time, was furious. She loved those books.

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If we take a Birds Eye view of this it is clearly a dystopian Marxist ideology.

I recently read a book about the Russian revolution through to the fall of the ussr.

The signs are all here for us to see what is happening. Erasing history, they are the ones removing books that do not adhere to their ideology. When they changed leaders they rewrote the history and accused innocents of being dissidents against the state, including farmers, landowners, Christians, Jews,or just anyone they felt threatened their power. Including pitting husband against wife, children against parents, taking children from their parents.

Citizens lived in constant fear, afraid to speak.

We need to identify how the librarians were captured by such a censorious viewpoint as they accuse others of being the censor.

This is a dangerous precedent every where we look today.

I think independent thinkers are bailing ship in disgust, leaving incompetents and indoctrinated people to control our free market institutions.

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I'm an aficionado of "banned books", and publishers imprisoned.

I collect and study modern period pornography (Traveler's Companion) particularly gay pornography, which is a fascinating window on an era of incrediby rapid social change. Since for men "gay" is defined as sexual attraction to other men, reality is that literature without sex can never really give depth to the life of gay men. This is a wonderful paradox for literature which is not usually considered to be anything but superficial and sensational.

I've got 35 feet of Globe Wernicke bookcases stacked 9 feet high, every size they made, stuffed with books - rows of American Library Poe and Cooper shoulder to shoulder with "Tailpipe Truckers", "Rigid and Ready", "Cocky Cruisers" (always charmingly alliterative). The authors were not writing just under a pseudonym, the apparent name for many was also a pseudonym. They and the publishers were under not only a threat of arrest, but one of better series publishers were arrested, imprisoned, offices and manuscripts destroyed, _several times_. Book banning? Cancel culture? My father's best friend thew himself under a train for being exposed as gay during government sweeps in the 50's [My father was himself targeted by McCarthy for being un-American]

A mere bagatelle. But, why is this germane?

Freedom to read in Public Libraties has forever been subject to curatorial control. I remember the British Museum's (British Library) collection of erotica "Private Case" books were not accessible the summer I spent in London in 1987. My goodness! Fanny Hill! Needless to say, outside of a gay bookstore (which are becoming fewer and further between) I've never found a book describing what it's like to be gay and enjoy what is part of the core of being gay. Public Library? Forget it.

Public Libraries by definition are an extremely conservative institution. Librarians are the curae of accepted ideas in written form, useful information in service of conversation and education intelligence as Benjamin Franklin in the US might say. Why should a library serve any purpose other than that of being a repository of useful books for the widest c'mon denominator of the public which can be shared?

I don't confuse public libraries with a bookstores.

Because as much as I enjoy books, and libraries have been important to me, I would never expect a library to house any possible book.

Fortunately, never in history have more books been available to more people with the most extreme ranges of ideas at the lowest imaginable prices. That's a fact with Amazon and Bookfinder. Project Gutenbetg with machine translation - for free - provides the entire body of pre-1970's copyright literature in virtually all major and minor languages available to anyone in their hand in their language 24x7. Astonishing. Granted I do find fabulous printed ephemera on 60's social movements at Bolerium Books in San Francisco [they loved my machine generated hardcore gay pornographic novels which I attached to congressional Republicans - it was a good laugh - they saw only a fragment of the 65000 I generated before turning off that AI]

This fight seems overblown on both sides.

Call me when the library has "Trucker's Trick".


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FYI if you have never heard of the named keynote speaker he is an out and very proud Marxist, so the bias is built in.

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Stephen King rallied against these bans on Twitter, urging school children to get their hands on banned books. King wrote: “Hey, kids! It's your old buddy Steve King telling you that if they ban a book in your school, haul your ass to the nearest bookstore or library ASAP and find out what they don't want you to read.”

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Because every school library needs child porn.

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As usual, FAIR takes a one-sided stance on divisive topics, conveniently ignoring the fact that the right has gone just as far as the left in attempts to ban, banish and censor. I had hoped that Fair would eventually emerge as a platform that transcended bias and made an attempt to promote objectivity. Instead, it has become just another one-sided conservative echo chamber.

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That you for this article. Here is my 0.02USD:

As a college professor, I see many students who read few things longer than a tweet. A poll revealed that most of our students do not know where our library currently is (it moved during renovation) let alone set foot inside. They just do not use libraries in this era of 'internet in your pocket.' When I enter public libraries I see mainly senior citizens reading periodicals & using free computers as well as mothers with little children in 'play areas' (especially on rainy days). I do not see many teens or twenty-somethings who are the target audience of the books in question.

So I wonder how do the ideologies of librarians/libraries align with the ideologies of _people who actually use libraries_?

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For readers interested in other posts related to this topic, there is also a Freedom to Read Statement on FAIR's website https://www.fairforall.org/freedom-to-read/ and one of the authors of this article published another article this week which is https://niagaranow.com/opinion.phtml/opinion-censorship-and-what-we-are-allowed-to-read/ .I will also mention a newly forming association of library professionals which recently launched their website https://alplibraries.org/ and lastly please consider reading this other Substack as well as it covers issues highlighted in this article https://hxlibraries.substack.com/

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