What is happening? 

There has been a recent movement all over the country to remove books from schools and public libraries that people deem “inappropriate” for children, and to remove inclusive, honest, and accurate curriculum from classrooms. It is a coordinated partisan effort to censor “divisive” topics. 

  • School board and library board meetings have been primary targets of these censorship efforts. 

  • Many of the books being targeted are written by or about members of marginalized groups. 

  • Librarians, teachers, administrators, authors, and school board members are being threatened with criminal charges and/or violence. 

  • Often accompanied by “educational gag orders” or “Parental Bills of Rights” written with vague language about CRT or “divisive” topics. 

  • In some places, books are being removed without public acknowledgment, this is called “Shadowbanning.” They are simply removed from the shelves or put in a less accessible area and students need to have permission to access them. 

Why is it happening? Partisan political actors are using very real parental anxiety to push a political agenda against families like ours.

Why is it important? 

  • Children have a fundamental right to receive an education that is foundational to American Democracy. 

  • The First Amendment protects the rights of students to access a wide range of ideas, and libraries have always been important resources for students to access stories and concepts they may not otherwise have access to. 

  • It is our job to ensure that students have an accurate and honest education. 

  • The vagueness of what is “divisive” and “inappropriate” leaves a lot of literature vulnerable to potential banning. 

  • When we remove stories of marginalized people, we send the message that their stories and experiences are not acceptable, which adds to the stigma. 

What can you do about it? 

  • Do research, and stay informed about what is happening in your community

  • Survey the landscape: take the temperature of your school and library boards and know where they stand and how they make agendas and decide issues. 

  • Organize with like-minded people in your community. 

  • Get involved - go to a school board meeting, write letters to elected officials, talk to your friends and family about why this is important, and consider a run for local office. 

Further Resources: