I wanted to share this new coalition to fight censorship. Please join - it's free. We need a group as organized and powerful as Moms for Liberty. Together we can make a difference.
“Texans for the Right to Read is a grassroots coalition of concerned Texas residents organized by the Texas Library Association. The coalition opposes the current movement to ban books from Texas libraries based on content subjectively deemed inappropriate. Its purpose is to educate the public and oppose any current or future legislation, regulations, or executive orders that infringe upon First Amendment rights and intellectual freedom.” [from the website]
Will you join Texans for the Right to Read today? It takes 5 seconds.
The coalition went live on March 7, and welcomes everyone to join to be kept informed of actions needed and progress made. And since it is so new, there is not a ton of information yet – but you can see a few resources to help in your understanding of intellectual freedom issues. And joining raises our numbers which can impress legislators.
I am a retired school librarian here in Houston. I work with CVPE as we all work to improve the HISD education. As a retired librarian, I also work with the Texas Library Assn by serving on their Executive Board and by working as one of the coordinators of our new Intellectual Freedom Helpline that Texas librarians facing materials challenges can call for moral support from a knowledgeable colleague. I also serve on the American Library Assn governing Council, and as a member of the Board of the Freedom to Read Foundation.
Our students deserve to see themselves reflected in the books and other resources of their school libraries and classrooms as well as to see people and cultures that are foreign to their daily lives. Libraries offer “mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors”: mirrors to see ourselves and our own communities; windows to look out towards other less familiar people and communities near and far; and sliding glass doors to walk through as we read, listen and view resources that allow us to feel transported to other places and times. Current political efforts to curtail access to some subjects is limiting the education of our children. Whenever any of us hear of censorship efforts, we all need to speak up. Read for yourself the books that are challenged. Decide if you want your own children to see/read them – but don’t prevent others with different interests from seeing the breadth of the world’s variety. Every library will support you in the decisions you make for your own children.
Librarians are trained in “collection development,” the process by which items are selected for purchase for a library collection. Part of that training is to buy to reflect the needs of the community rather than the librarian’s personal opinions. This is an important distinction.
I am all too aware that too many schools in HISD do not have a current library or a certified librarian – Students Need Libraries in HISD is working on that by educating school board members and HISD leadership through blogs and letters. Libraries are one piece of what CVPE wants to see as we work for equity across the district.
As we all work towards a better HISD, remember to speak up about intellectual freedom and against censorship whether in the classroom, the curriculum or the library. Please join Texans for the Right to Read – it’s free.
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