An Open Letter to Iowa Librarians,
Libraries, both public and schools, are increasingly coming under attack around the nation and here in Iowa. There are efforts to ban books deemed by some to be inappropriate for children to read. This brewing moral panic isn’t really about books. It’s about power and control and unfortunately libraries are in the crossfire. To be clear, this isn’t about parents fighting to control what their children are reading- they’ve always had that power. This is about fighting to control what other people’s children read. The books in question are primarily those books that center the experiences of non-white and/or LGBTQ+ youth. These books can be a powerful resource for children who might not otherwise see their stories represented. These books, and the children who deserve access to them are important and worth fighting for. This is a fight that Iowan librarians might not have signed up for, but one they are undertaking nonetheless.
Libraries are one of the few places where people can go and get access to resources and information for free. They can sit in the air conditioning they might not have at home. They can check their email when they might not have internet access otherwise. They can check out books and movies and CDs and they can just sit in a safe space if that’s what they need. Librarians foster all of this. More than just taking care of books, librarians take care of the communities that they are a vital part of. All this, and they still have to deal with political attacks that are making their lives difficult. Librarians deserve our respect and appreciation and now they need our support more than ever. Stop into your library. Have a chat with your librarian. Learn what is facing Iowa libraries. Ask what you can do to help. And thank them for the work they do, and their courage during these difficult times.
THANK YOU, LIBRARIANS!
Great Plains Action Society