By MEAD GRUVER, Updated 4:35 AM PDT, September 5, 2023
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — After parents in a rural and staunchly conservative Wyoming County joined nationwide pressure on librarians to pull books they considered harmful to youngsters, the local library board obliged with new policies making such books a higher priority for removal — and keeping out of collections.
But that’s not all the library board has done.
Campbell County also withdrew from the American Library Association, in what’s become a movement against the professional organization that has fought against book bans.
Neo-Nazis and Proud Boys are targeting libraries, as legislators and conservative lobby groups are trying to remove books from shelves and change how library board members are appointed
Last month, I went to a library in more or less the exact middle of America, and everyone was there – kids, elderly people, students of all ethnicities and ability levels – quietly doing their own thing, together.
A librarian interviewed me in an elegant amphitheater in front of Kansas City residents. We spoke about immigration, politics and the climate crisis and managed to laugh a lot too. Some audience members challenged my views, and we talked it out right there. We had a frank and fun conversation in a public space, free to all, and streamed live for people who couldn’t make it to the library that day. I only later thought about how rare that is – and how profound.
Campaigns that started with criticizing school board members and librarians have turned their attention to tech companies such as OverDrive and Epic, which operated for years without drawing much controversy.
E-reader apps that became lifelines for students during the pandemic are now in the crossfire of a culture war raging over books in schools and public libraries.
In several states, apps and the companies that run them have been targeted by conservative parents who have pushed schools and public libraries to shut down their digital programs, which let users download and read books on their smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Some parents want the apps to be banned for their children or even for all students. And they’re getting results.
A school superintendent in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, pulled his system’s e-reader offline for a week last month, cutting access for 40,000 students, after a parent searched the Epic library available on her kindergartner’s laptop and found books supporting LGBTQ pride.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Attempts to ban books in schools are as old as books themselves. But there’s new momentum on book bans now that’s driven by conservative activists targeting local school boards. Nomin Ujiyediin of member station KCUR in Kansas City reports.
NOMIN UJIYEDIIN, BYLINE: Books about LGBTQ issues and race have spurred more conservative activism against school boards in recent months. It’s often the same books that are challenged, like “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison and “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins, because they deal directly with issues of sex, racism, violence and drugs. One group leading challenges calls itself No Left Turn in Education. It publishes lists of books and guides to help activists complain to their school boards. Andy Wells heads the Missouri chapter. He considers books like “The Bluest Eye” to be pornographic and argues they shouldn’t be in schools.
Science can help us make sense of the president’s political invincibility.
Editor’s Note: There are reasons why Trump supporters think and act the way they do, for Trump. We need to be aware of these, to counter their efforts to support him. I oppose everything he has done to our Nation, and will hope we can remove him in 2020, and get America back on track.