Today, in “conservative extremists determined to advance censorship agendas while simultaneously touting freedom and free speech,” parents are taking many steps forward by banning physical books from school libraries and are now trying to delete entire wholesale e-book collections.
A new report from BNC News paints a terrifying picture of school districts being forced to concede defeat to moms and dads who squirm and feel awkward every time someone suggests a fast food chain that isn’t Chick-Fil-A . In one case, a school superintendent outside Nashville, Tennessee, shut down the district’s entire e-reader system of 40,000 students for a week in April after a parent walked the “library available on her child’s laptop and found books supporting LGBTQ pride”.
NBCThe dispatch also cites cities in (surprise surprise) Texas and Florida that recently pulled off similar stunts, cutting off virtual information and educational resources to students during a pandemic that — contrary to popular belief right now — is far from over. In Texas, the ban affected not just local schools, but countywide access, prompting a federal lawsuit.
Unimaginable consequences — It is hard to overstate how serious and harmful this latest Conservative tactic is for public school systems. As horrendous as book bans are across the board, so far they’ve only affected a handful of titles at any given time. Removing e-reader libraries like Overdrive literally removes tens of thousands of titles at once – an incomprehensible loss of access, opinion and knowledge.
While there are legal and public challenges to these types of knowledge-based violence, it is clear that the reactionary backlash is stronger than ever in this country, and so it is vital that opponents continue to raise their voices. . In New York, for example, public libraries are making their collections available to other regions struggling with censorship issues.
All right, NYC. We are offering a #SidestepCensorshipSummer challenge for all libraries and schools to adopt similar policies.