The Tribune spoke to two librarians in public school districts who asked to stay anonymous in the piece so they aren’t harassed. One of those librarians, who works in the Keller Independent School District (ISD), said there hasn’t been a “day” or an even an “hour” in the last year where they haven’t been “frightened” and “immobilized” when thinking about what the future could look like. The librarian described seeing local social media accounts where people described librarians as being “heretical,” and “groomers” who were trying to get pornography into libraries.
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“It was heartbreaking,” the librarian said. They added that only one parent has reached out to them directly to discuss books being discussed in the bans.
The other librarian, who works for Katy ISD, said they’ve felt concerned about potential new book orders resulting in bans or removals, including, for example, a short story collection called “Growing Up Trans: In Our Own Words.” The librarian told the outlet they’re worried this is going to a reach a point where the only books available are ones pre-selected by parents, and they’re going to take “everything away” that they can into the career to do.
One of the librarians who did speak to the Tribune on the record has, sadly, already lost their job, as covered by Daily Kos at the time. Suzette Baker says a supervisor asked her to hide a book on critical race theory last year, and ultimately decided not to do so. Baker says she spoke out against bans on ordering new books and described the overall situation as censorship, with even donated books put on hold.
Eventually, in early March, Baker says she was fired on grounds of creating a disturbance, failure to follow orders, and insubordination. Basically: Not being a puppet.
What can we do? Vote in local elections and pay close attention to what’s happening at our school board meetings. Reach out to your state representatives. Send librarians messages of support, especially when it comes to events that highlight marginalized folks, like drag queen story hours and themed book clubs.
It’s also always a good move to actually read and promote challenged books, so we can support the authors and actually have solid points with which to counter the absurd cherry-picking conservatives are doing. If you want to start reading, please check out our Banned Book Club series here at Daily Kos, where we already started discussing All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson.
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