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The strain of censorship on public libraries

Books sit on shelves in the Duke Humphrey’s Library at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford, England.
Books sit on shelves in the Duke Humphrey’s Library at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford, England.

This summer, a library in Lafayette, Louisiana, was forced to remove a Pride Month display after conservative Christian activists joined the board.

They also refused to fund a program about voting rights and attempted to fire a librarian for speaking out about the changes.

In Iowa, a proposed bill would give city councils the power to overturn librarians’ decisions about what books to buy and where they’re displayed.

And librarians in Missouri canceled their bookmobile to several schools after a law passed in the state criminalizing anyone who makes visually explicit content available in schools.

The American Library Association has reported 681 challenges to more than 1,600 titles this year. That puts 2022 on track to see the highest number of book challenges in decades.

What future do public libraries and library workers have in this climate of unprecedented censorship? And what role do larger, out-of-state libraries play in combatting it?

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Haili Blassingame