In a depressing turn for anyone who thought society may have outgrown book burning or censorship of books over the last 100 years, it appears the hate-filled phenomenon is back on the rise, increasing with alarming frequency across the country.
CNN’s Nicole Chavez has reported the American Library Association “has provided legal guidance and support to a number of libraries impacted by the ‘dramatic uptick’ of attempts to remove books concerning LGBTQ issues and people of color.”
According to Chavez, “since June 1, the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has tracked 155 incidents [of book banning] across the country and has provided support and consultation in 120 of those cases.”
“We’re seeing an unprecedented volume of challenges in the fall of 2021,” Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said in an interview with CNN. “In my 20 years with ALA, I can’t recall a time when we had multiple challenges coming in on a daily basis.”
According to Caldwell-Stone and her group, most instances of book banning and censoring they have encountered center on one consistent and disturbing message: “the voices of the marginalized have no place on library shelves.”
In their attacks against the books that they want to see banned, these groups claim the titles are “subversive,” “immoral,” and will cause individuals who read them “to abandon constitutional principles, ignore the rule of law and disregard individual rights.”
“Some of these groups even resort to intimidation and threats to achieve their ends, targeting the safety and livelihoods of library workers, educators and board members who have dedicated themselves to public service, informing our communities and educating our youth,” ALA said in a statement to the media.
Even as these challenges mount, the ALA has pledged to continue fighting these bans and the racist and homophobic bias behind them, as well as “defending the constitutional rights of all individuals of all ages to use the resources and services of libraries.”