Friday, March 31, 2023

Play

Donald Trump indicted by Manhattan grand jury; Georgia campaign fights to reopen local hospitals; New Mexico creates first-ever $100M conservation fund.

Play

Former President Donald Trump is indicted by Manhattan's district attorney, House Republicans take aim at renewables in new energy bill and House Dems introduce the Women's Protection Health Act.

Play

Small towns respond to a hidden housing and homelessness crisis, a new national weather prediction system will help close the gap between urban and rural forecasting, and more rural communities are eligible for a design project to boost economic development.

Maine Libraries Observe 'Banned Books Week'

Play

Wednesday, September 21, 2022   

Controversial books are nothing new, but the incidence of book challenges and bans has increased substantially in recent years.

For the American Library Association's annual Banned Books Week, this year's theme is "Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us." Polls by the association indicate 71% of Americans oppose efforts to remove books from public libraries, and 67% oppose efforts to remove books from school libraries.

Samantha Duckworth, chair of the Intellectual Freedom Committee for Maine Library Association, said Maine has also seen a rise in book challenges this year.

"We don't stand for people making calls for the rest of the population," Duckworth asserted. "People get to make their own decisions and that's what a democracy is about. Every color of opinion in between, people deserve access to that. When you go to library school, you learn you're not there to read books, you're there to promote access to information."

The library association said 2021 saw the most attempted book bans of any year since the group began tracking them 20 years ago, and this year is outpacing last year. More information on the association's initiative to fight censorship is online at uniteagainstbookbans.org.

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom for the association, said organized political groups advocating censorship are involved in efforts to influence school boards and library boards, sending motivated voices to speak to elected officials. But when opponents of censorship also make their voices heard, she observed, things can go differently.

"When there are others in the room speaking out against censorship -- speaking out in favor of having a wide variety of books available for young people to read, for the community to read -- then we often see efforts to remove books fail," Caldwell-Stone explained.

She added those who are too busy to attend a meeting can write to their library board or send a letter with another supporter to be read at a meeting.

Over her career, Caldwell-Stone said she has seen an expansion of the kinds of books being challenged. It used to be stories containing profanity or coming-of-age accounts of first sexual experiences, but in recent years, challenges have taken on additional political dimensions.

"When you look at the books that are challenged, you're seeing books that have no sexual content at all," Caldwell-Stone pointed out. "But advance different narratives around our history with racism, or the lives and experiences of LGBTQIA persons."

The library association estimates between 82% and 97% of book challenges go unreported.


get more stories like this via email
Some 77% of small business owners say the consolidation of hospital systems in their areas has worsened the overall availability and quality of health-care services in their communities. (Leigh Trail/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Small-business owners in North Carolina are reaching out to legislators for help, citing hospital mergers as one reason their health-care costs are …


Environment

A REASONS TO BE CHEERFFUL/SOLUTIONS JOURNALISM NETWORK/WISCONSIN NEWS CONNCECTION COLLABORATION Milwaukee is tied to a wave of freeway removals in th…

Social Issues

Tennesseans aren't the only ones mourning the tragic loss of three children and three adults at this week's shooting at Nashville's Covenant School…


Sleep affects all aspects of health and, conversely, it's affected by everything going on in your mind and body, as well as in your environment, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Doctors in Iowa are studying the brains of babies to learn more about sleep patterns in adults and teens. The United Health Foundation reports one-…

Social Issues

While National Medal of Honor Month is ending, plans to develop a museum and monument for the award are continuing. Numerous Medal of Honor …

Health and Wellness

Two Atlanta facilities are the latest hospital closures in Georgia, reflecting a trend for more than a decade that's left tens of thousands of people …

Environment

New Mexico is using some of its surplus budget funds, primarily from oil and gas revenues, to establish the state's first-ever source of recurring …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021