Disappearing Books #bookbanning

PrettySleepy

Note: I have made it a point over the past politically divisive years in the US to not go political on this blog despite having opinions (don’t we all?!). However, books are my life–reading, devouring, writing, and blogging. I believe in the freedom of books and their writers. I take attacks on books personally, sometimes too personally. When we begin to ban books, we begin to ban liberty. This seems to be a political issue and the only one that will ever be discussed on this blog. Book freedom!

The Washington Post recently published an article entitled, “Schools Nationwide Are Quietly Removing Books From Their Libraries.” (Please, if you have the time, read this article.) Books have been removed from school libraries before someone can object. School librarians are no longer purchasing books that could be deemed “controversial” because they fear for their jobs and sometimes worse. People are trying to erase books that they deem controversial from school libraries. Books about race and tolerance, sexuality, and gender.

I once studied to be a librarian. I didn’t finish the degree. Just three more courses. But along the way I discovered something: librarians are some of the coolest people you’d ever want to meet. They are the true book ninjas. They will defend a book’s right to be and the reader’s right to read— to the end. In true Tom Petty form they won’t back down. They are magical unicorns and leprechauns. Librarians rock.

Personally, I’ve never understood the concept of book banning. If you don’t like a book, its ideas or philosophy, don’t read it, but don’t take away someone else’s option of reading it. What has come into play recently is the idea that kids should be isolated from books about sexuality, gender, race and more. Why? Are parents secretly afraid that their kids will suddenly be someone other than who they really are because they read a book? (Parents: are your teachings suddenly insubstantial?) My fear would be that kids are cut off from discovering who they might be because they are denied reading books about what they might be. If a child is facing a debate about their sexual orientation and the books that might help are swept away, where do they turn? Inwards? Angry? Hurt? Suicidal? And, yes, I do believe that fear leads this entire book banning world. We already know that fear breeds anger. Ignorance breeds fear and anger.

How disheartening is it that people claiming to be fighting for liberty are, instead, acting for tyranny? Some country singer dude compared librarians (not giving his name life here) to pedophiles and said that “We the people are the firewall between tyranny and freedom.” But by forcibly banning books aren’t you reinforcing tyranny? Isn’t freedom the ability to choose what to read? Shouldn’t parents be responsible for knowing what books are in their child’s hands? And, I’ve got to say it, what kind of ignorance compares a librarian ninja to a pedophile? Hmm?

In the 1930’s a contingent of Americans burned books in conjunction with Hitler’s burning of books because they saw something comparable in him. Thankfully that didn’t continue. Burning and banning of books manifest a closed society, a non-democratic society, a non-republic society. And, a fear of ideas.

This past Sunday, unfortunately aided by a couple of birthday/St. Paddy’s Day celebratory champagnes, I rolled my eyes at a woman who kept going on about pornography at the public library available to third graders. I didn’t ask too many questions, except: where were their parents? I felt bad about the whole eye rolling thing. But not about my opinion. Libraries are good. Parents who don’t track what their children are doing are not. And, no, I really doubt the public library had on display pornography because that’s just not the way things work at libraries. And, yep, still sorry about the whole eye-rolling thing.

Book banning is anti-democracy. Perhaps that’s where the United States of America is headed, however, unless people pay attention. ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION! Books, ideas, philosophy = liberty. Tyranny = close minds.

#booklove

hearts and souls, folks. ❤️ Sascha

18 Comments

  1. This subject is near and dear to my heart. There are a lot of things that should be banned ahead of literature. Makes my head spin.

    1. Oh, yes, I agree 100%. In earlier research regarding recent efforts to ban books, I was mystified that some school board members hadn’t even read the books that they were willing to ban. How did we get here?

      1. It’s a power grab. Most of the books there are trying to ban are rich in so many ways for what they have to offer.

  2. Thanks so much for your comments. The library has had a haven feeling for me. In childhood, adolescence, and adulthood it has been this way. Books I found in libraries gave me discovery and encouragement. And learning. Maybe the learning part is what scares the book-banners. But for children you’re right to note the parents’ role in learning. Frankly, book-banning is too easy; and the irony is that it draws extra attention to the books banned. Some of the books commonly banned are books I do not like. But I have read them in order to develop that opinion, and I do not wish them gone.

    1. You’re very correct that banned books draw interest. In the past its included books like The Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird and other books that I have loved. I have not read the books that are currently topping the lists, but I do intend to. There’s this odd issue of people fearing knowledge. And this odd dealing with sexuality while violence and guns are accepted. A strange world.

  3. Thank you for posting this. This is a nasty trend that is gaining speed.It is happening in Canada too. Libraries are a vital part of education and democracy! This book banning needs to stop!

    1. I’ve tried to keep track of the events happening in the US but I hadn’t heard anything about Canada. I’m sad to hear that it’s happening there as well. I’ve decided to continue to post about these events. I believe, as I must, that enough people just don’t know what is going on. Too much complacency, I’m afraid.

      1. It is worse when it happens in a quiet way because no one can do anything if they don’t know about it. I’m sure that the people in the US would be happier if they could get their book banning done on the sly. Fortunately news organizations are making information available to people like me and you and others who will spread the word.

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