You’ve seen it in the news: book ban battles are being fought across the country on the local level at library board, school board, and city council meetings. Vocal minorities of parents and conservative political groups are waging a campaign to remove books from libraries and schools that deal with topics they don’t agree with, in many cases without even having read them.
But sometimes they’re the only voice in the room. That makes attending these meetings one of the most critical actions you can take to fend off book bans.
The stakes couldn’t have been higher in Llano County, when last month county commissioners considered closing the library system after a federal judge ruled that several previously banned books must be returned to library shelves. Residents showed up in support of the library, and after a contentious public meeting, officials voted to keep the library system open.
Make sure local officials know you support the library, library workers, and access to books of all kinds by attending, listening, and speaking out against censorship. Our partners at PFLAG have created a helpful guide for speaking at library and school board meetings that we’ve adapted to focus on book bans.
Make a plan to attend your library or school board meeting:
- Check when and where the meeting will take place, and be aware of any rules around public comments or code of conduct.
- Gather supporters to join you at the meeting, and prepare your remarks ahead of time.
- Be informed about what’s at stake: read the book(s) being challenged and understand why they’re being targeted for restriction or removal.
- At the meeting, make the issue personal and use emotion to your benefit.
- Afterward, start preparing for the next meeting. Consistently showing up is key!
Check out the full guide here, as well as other critical actions you can take to fight censorship.
Are you taking action in your community? Let us know!