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A Community Action Toolkit for Parents & Caregivers

Are you a parent/ caregiver who wants to make sure your child's curiosity, intellectual freedom, and reading life is as rich, and as powerful as possible? Are you tired of efforts by small and loud voices who want to take over your parental voice and your child's rights? Then we are here to help! Welcome!

The Get Ready, Stay Ready: Community Action Toolkit is an effort by a group of parents and librarians who believe that the power is in community, in togetherness, in a collective outcry and a collective pushback against those who want to erase our stories , our history, our existence. Here you will find curated resources including scripts for public speaking and writing, fantastic video presentations, training materials equipping you to learn more about (and fight back) censorship's impact on education and society, tools for civic engagement, and a network of organizations across the country that are determined to preserve your child's right to a high-quality education through intellectual freedom. 

Why is Your Voice, Your Actions, Your Involvement Needed? Read "Playing Catch-Up to the Censors, the Fight for the Freedom to Read Needs a Grassroots Revolution" by Kara Yorio, for a clear explanation on why your effort is needed more than ever!

Each tile below will link you to a collection of resources we reviewed and selected to help you become a powerful advocate for your child. Click on each one to access these resources. Get Ready, Stay Ready is an on-going effort and we invite you to recommend resources for inclusion and sharing. Please check back often, and share widely. We are the majority.

Resources Developed by Library Organizations

Library Org Resources

Resources for Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement

Resources for LGBTQIA+ Material Support

LGBTQIA+ Support

Training Resources

Trainings and Short-Courses

Free webinars

Webinars and Videos

Stuff You Should Read

Stuff You Should Read

Mirrors, Windows, Sliding Glass Doors, and Prisms

Resources for Diverse Collections

Letters, Templates, & Guides

Media and video testimonials

Media for Sharing & Advocacy

Curated Social Media Accounts

Contact your representative and ask them to support the Right to Read Act

More handouts and details available on the Civic Engagement page.

Meet the team. 

Valerie Byrd Fort. White woman with chandelier earrings and glasses. Short brown hair.

Valerie Byrd Fort

Project Director

VBF is an Instructor for the School of Information Science at the University of South Carolina, a Ph.D. student in Language & Literacy at USC, and the Coordinator for Cocky's Reading Express, USC's Literacy Outreach Program. 

Alli Harper, a white woman with shoulder length hair standing in front of a full bookcase

Alli Harper

Team Member

A community organizer, attorney, and queer mom to two kids, Alli Harper is the founder and owner of OurShelves, a diverse children's books subscription service and advocacy effort. 

Stacy Collins, short curly hair, glasses.

Stacy Collins (she/they)

Team Member

Stacy is the Instruction Librarian and Geographer-at-Large at the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library, Phillips Academy. She was named a 2021 Mover & Shaker.

Sherry Neal, shoulder length curly brown hair.

Sherry Neal

Team Member

After more than two decades as a lawyer assisting families with adoption matters, Sherry has pursued a Masters in Library and Information Science at USC and works as a middle school librarian in Atlanta, Georgia.  

Dr. April Dawkins, short straight hair and turquoise glasses

Dr. April Dawkins

Team Member

Dawkins is an assistant professor in the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. April's research focuses on intellectual freedom issues including self-censorship, access and equity, and privacy. 

Dr. Lucy Santos Green, dark curly hair and glasses

Dr. Lucy Santos Green

Team Member

A parent and former school librarian, Green is the Director of the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa. Lucy's research focuses on school library services to marginalized populations, technology-enabled inquiry learning, and digital learning. 

Cynthia Johnson, short brown curly hair, pearl necklace and earrings.

Cynthia Richardson Johnson

Team Member

Cynthia is an 18 year veteran K-12  teacher with 10 years of experience as a school librarian. She is an Information Science PhD student at the University of South Carolina.


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Six strong Black women standing next to each other as a strong team

Round Rock Black Parents Association

When a 14 year old Black student was choke-slammed by a school resource officer, Black parents in our community had experienced enough. We began to organize and attend board meetings demanding accountability for the actions of the district. Parents again organized around the repeated use of the n-word on campuses, followed by a letter to the board of trustees to address the poor outcomes for Black students in Round Rock ISD.

We have since grown into a strong, grass-roots organization that has partnered with other community activists, organizers, non-profits, and business to advocate for equity within the greater Austin area. We aim to educate each other and our community on racial and educational equity through our partnerships, as well as unify and empower parents to be leaders within their schools. We believe that parent involvement goes beyond the walls of a classroom and invite educators to share in our vision of reimagining the role of parents.

Defense of Democracy

The group Defense of Democracy came into being in mid-May of 2022 in response to the very real threat posed by Moms for Liberty endorsed candidates as they vowed that "If we can’t infuse our Christian values into this (curriculum) then we’ll keep it that benign state," and further stated “I can’t say honestly that I really want to be a school board member, but...I do feel compelled, and I do feel like it’s a call from God."  There are Defense of Democracy members of all political leanings who do not believe that a "call from God" is a serious reason to run for school board, or that schools should be limited to only teaching "math, science, history...the end," or that a "Christian worldview" is an appropriate goal to steer our public schools toward. 

Working across party lines does not mean seeking compromise for compromises' sake; individuals do not have to abandon their core beliefs or political principals to understand that being American is not defined by religion or sexual identity. Agreement on this one point does not indicate agreement on every other topic.

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