On this page you'll find links to articles and news stories that we think you should read and share with others. Check back often!
Accusations of 'Grooming' Are the Latest Political Attack - With Homophobic Origins - An article by NPR reporter Melissa Block, also available as a 6 minute audio file, that delves into the painful history behind the use of the term 'grooming' as a political weapon.
A Colorado Library Board Has Voted to Ban Book Bans - A potential model for replication in your town.
Age-Restricted Library Cards Aren't a Solution: They're a Liability - A weekly entry of the Book Censorship News by Kelly Jensen. If you haven't signed up for these yet, do so today!
America's Censored Classrooms - An important report released by PEN America on its 100th anniversary examining the dangerous spike of educational gag order legislation and its impact on students: "Lawmakers are undermining the role of our public schools as a unifying force above politics and turning them instead into a culture war battleground. By seeking to silence critical perspectives and stifle debate, they are depriving students of the tools they need to navigate a diverse and complex world."
A New Jersey Bill Would Strip Funding From Public Schools or Libraries Banning Books - "Amid a growing national battle over censorship and parental rights, New Jersey legislators are taking steps to discourage public schools and libraries from banning books by withholding state aid from those who don’t comply."
A Perfectly Inoffensive School Library - What would a school library collection need to look like so that it offended no one?
As Book Bans Increase, Chicago Protects the Freadom to Read - An interview with Chris Brown, the Chicago Public Library Commissioner, on Chicago's establishment of book sanctuaries.
Banned in the USA: State Laws Supercharge Book Suppression in Schools - "Update on Book Bans in the 2022-2023 School Year Shows Expanded Censorship of Themes Centered on Race, History, Sexual Orientation and Gender" by Pen America.
Banning Ideas and Authors is Not a 'Culture War' - It's Fascism - An article by Jason Stanley calling attention to the misuse of 'both-sides' framing; "The media’s framing of measures like Florida’s African American studies ban is a dangerous falsification of reality."
Book Bans Affect Everybody - Here's How You Can Help - Written by school librarian, Alex Brown, this article clearly voices how parents, caregivers, and other concerned stakeholders can support libraries as we face an explosion in censorship attempts.
Book Bans Are Discriminatory And Bad, U. S. Department of Education Rules - A news article update discussing how "The ruling against a Georgia school district is a response to book bans across the country, which have targeted titles about race and LGBTQ topics."
Book Bans Are on the Rise. Biden is Appointing a Point Person to Address That - "President Biden announces new actions to try to address discrimination against LGBTQI+ Americans — including the appointment of a new point person at the Education Department to address an increase in book bans."
Book Banning in Walton County Based on Misleading "Porn in Schools Report" Illustrates Alarming Influence of Fringe Groups on Educational Censorship - A report by Pen America on a specific case that exemplifies the creeping power and reach of organized censorship efforts, including links to important figures, lists, and groups to keep watch over.
Book Banning in the US: These Are the Authors of Color Censors are Trying to Silence - A report by Elliot C. McLaughlin that highlights four young adult authors of color whose novels are being targeted by censorship efforts and how these efforts are tied to race.
BookLooks, Framed as "Objective" Book Rating Resource, A Moms for Liberty Joint - An important and careful breakdown of what this resource truly is, including who is behind it, and why it is not a valid tool for use in public or school libraries.
Books for Trans Teens: How Visibility Can Lead to Anti-Trans Backlash - Trans activist Will Malloy, and YA Author Kyle Lukoff talk about the importance of books for trans kids and teens, and how visibility leads to backlash.
Conservatives Are Trying to Ban Books in Your Town. Librarians Are Fighting Back - How right-wing mania is destroying the social fabric of communities across America. This article details the experience of a Michigan public library and how organizing was a positive step forward.
Conservatives Who Attacked School Boards in 2022 Are Now Going After Libraries - "Moms for Libraries is set to inject right-wing politics into school reading shelves."
Culturally Centered Education: A Primer - A report that "a. Defines key terms pertaining to culturally-based education; b. Explains the implications these terms have for curriculum and instructional materials; and c. Assesses the state of the culturally-based education field." [Description cited from original source]
Davis District [UT] Pulls Bible From Elementaries, Junior Highs 'Due to Vulgarity or Violence.' - "A committee tasked with reviewing books that fall under review for sexual content last week determined that the Bible will be retained at district high schools, but removed from all elementary and middle schools." Check for updates as the book is being re-reviewed.
Debbie Reese on Book Bans and Native Representation - In this interview with activist, scholar, and former elementary school teacher Dr. Debbie Reese, the discussion examines how the book ban trend reflects a strong fear of a just society.
Educational Gag Orders: How Colleges and Universities Can Respond - This article provides a fantastic and thorough explanation of what the current legislative climate is attempting to do with vaguely written gag orders, and how educational institutions can respond. While aimed at higher education, the tactics and responses recommended are easily applied in K-12 and other community organizations.
Educational Intimidation: How ‘Parental Rights’ Legislation Undermines the Freedom to Learn - Published by PEN America, this 2023 report discusses how "Educational intimidation bills are part of the broader, ongoing “Ed Scare”—a nationwide effort documented by PEN America to foment anger and anxiety about public education; to restrict or prohibit instruction about race, sexuality, and gender; and to ban books that address these topics."
The Fight for the American Public Library: How to Protect Your Local Library From Book Ban Campaigns - Written and beautifully illustrated by Ariel Aberg-Riger, the description of the article is an excellent summary: "National Library Week in the US comes amid a period of turmoil for libraries, as efforts to censor books intensify. Visual storyteller Ariel Aberg-Riger explores the threats libraries face, their historical context and how activists are mobilizing to protect a diversity of thought." This article is also full of resources and visuals to share.
The Heavy Cost of Banning Books About Black Children - Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Kennedy School studying public policy and economics, discusses how we must "be intentional in our efforts to challenge those who think that ordinary stories are only relegated to children who look like them. And like Amanda Gorman, we must be brave enough to hear, honor, and exalt the Black children and those who dare to tell their stories."
Here's What Book Banning Means for Latinx Communities - An article by Meg Medina for Parents magazine, discussing the impact of book banning and book challenges on specific groups.
How to Beat a Book Ban: Students, Parents, and Librarians - An article by Adam Gabbatt of The Guardian that highlights examples of ways groups are pushing back against censorship efforts nationwide.
How a Far-Right "Christian" Cell-Phone Company Took Over Four Texas School Boards - From NBC: "Patriot Mobile markets itself as “America’s only Christian conservative wireless provider.” Now the Trump-aligned company is on a mission to win control of Texas school boards."
How to Fight Book Bans and Challenges: An Anti-Censorship Toolkit - An article by Kelly Jensen at Bookriot that provides a great background on the role of media, news organizations, polarization, misinformation/disinformation, on the current uprise in book challenges, along with practical steps for addressing these issues.
How to Support Diverse Books During a Book Ban - An article by JoAnn Yao, Diversebooks.org, on ways to fight book challenges in your local community.
How to Thwart an Anti-Equity Agenda: Advice for Teachers, Administrators, and Families - Katy Swalwell and Noreen Naseem Rodriguez explain in detail why ignoring right-wing smear campaigns will not make them go away, and what you can do about them instead.
Huntsville Public Library Privatized After Pride Display - An article by Kelly Jensen at Bookriot describes how a Texas public library is no longer.
Inherit the Wallflower - A write up by Frank Strong that describes the steps and tactics parents and community members in Conroe ISD (Texas) successfully used to push back on censorship efforts by new board members.
Inside Moms for Liberty's Close Relationship with the Proud Boys - "A VICE News investigation has uncovered links between numerous Moms for Liberty chapters and extremist groups like the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, sovereign citizen groups, QAnon conspiracist, and Christian nationalists."
A Kansas City Library System Has Banned LGBTQ Pride Book Displays in Children's Areas - "The new policies are a reaction to rules from Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft that ban libraries from “age-inappropriate” displays for teens and children. Staff of Mid-Continent Public Library say the policies are confusing, and point to a work environment that is not inclusive of LGBTQ staff."
Library Board Consensus is That Book Was Purchased Under and Abides by Library Policy - A case study on successful advocacy against censorship efforts through use of pre-existing collection development policy.
Libraries Must Stop Pretending They Can Be Neutral About Human Rights - An article by Alex Brown (they/them), a queer and Black school librarian and well-known author, explaining why "both sides" is a myth that allows misinformation, prejudice, and hate to gain a dangerous foothold in library spaces.
Mirrors, Windows, & Sliding Glass Doors - A famous essay written by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, this brief paper is a foundational explanation of why reading a broad variety of books, by and about a broad variety of people, is crucial for a global mindset.
New Right to Read Bill Expands School Library Access, Students' Right to Read - from our friend at Bookriot, Kelly Jensen, an important bill for you to keep your eye on and for you to encourage your representatives to support!
Notes From a School Board Takeover: This Isn't Leadership. It's Vandalism - Written by Paul Bowers, a community member tracking events at his local school board, and including links to his live-tweet of the event, this play-by-play demonstrates what happens in the first 30 minutes of a Moms-4-Liberty candidate takeover of a local South Carolina school board.
Porn and Loathing in N. J.? Sex, Books, and the Culture Wars. How Parents Got Sued by a 'Nice' School Librarian - Discusses the ongoing case of NJ High School librarian, Roxana Caivano, who is suing parents for libel after being publicly targeted.
Public Libraries Are Under Attack: Here's How You Can Help - "Former librarian Angie Manfredi on the freedom to read and what you can do to support your local libraries from encroaching censorship."
Public Library Budgets Are Being Slashed. Police Have More Cash Than Ever. - "Proposed cuts to New York City public libraries speak to an ongoing trend that puts funding for police above education."
Publishers File Amicus Brief Supporting Patrons of the Llano County Library System in Little v. Llano County - Lists the publishers involved, and highlights from the amicus brief filed.
Publishers Refuse to Become Complicit in Texas Book Banning - "Texas’ HB 900, which will require book vendors to review books and rate them, determining if they are “sexually explicit” or “sexually relevant,” is set to go into effect September 1. And now, the country’s largest book distributor to schools, Follett School Solutions, has asked publishers to rate their books." This brief article describes the pushback by publishers who are actively fighting HB 900 through the court system.
Republican Wants to Expand Definition of "Child Pornography" to make it Easier to Ban LGBTQ+ Books - Discusses efforts by a new lawmaker in Wyoming to ban LGBTQ+ books from both public and school libraries.
Right-Wing Groups Stoked a Moral Panic about School Libraries - The article covers the beginnings of the Banned Book Club at Vandegrift High School, Leander, TX, and how youth feel silenced as parents argue over what books should be accessible to all.
Seven Ways to Make a Case for a Challenged Book in the Classroom - The Open Blog, "a blog on race, diversity, education, and children's books," is a great overall resource for learning more about the importance of access to diverse books and educational materials. This particular article helps parents, caregivers, and classroom teachers make a case for challenged books from a reconciliatory perspective.
The Obscenity Pivot - By journalist Dan Kois, "Virginia Republicans are testing a new way to ban books and restrict their sales. In the long run, it might just work."
The Absurd Year in Educational Censorship, From Gay Penguins to Gettysburg Address - a collection of 14 head-scratching stories on educational censorship curated by PEN America.
Tired of Uninformed School Board Candidates? Try Asking These Questions - Written by a former elementary school principal, this article gives you a list of powerful questions to ask those running for school board candidacy. These questions would also be useful to you if you are considering running as a candidate yourself.
When Extremists Take Over School Boards, Students Pay the Price - A blog post by Ravin Rolle, a recent high school graduate from Southlake, TX where she explains why she is more involved in her school system now than she was a student.
Who Should Have a Say Over What Is In a Library Collection? - "Dr. Emily Knox, author and professor of library and information sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, joins John Williams to talk about her testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier in the week examining the impact of book bans."
Writing Kid Lit While Queer - A thoughtful and heartfelt post by YA author Robin Stevenson on writing as a queer author and what book challenges mean in this context.