Jan. 27 was International Holocaust Day of Remembrance. As a library worker, it’s not lost on me that we’re honoring this day during the largest book-banning effort in United States’ history.
For example: A school board in Athens, Tenn., voted to ban the critical graphic novel “Maus” from the curriculum. Legislation championed by Ron DeSantis is forcing Florida teachers to empty their classroom libraries; or risk felony charges. Texas has banned the most books of any state: over 800 titles across 22 school districts.
And now, my colleagues at the Sno-Isle Library’s Oak Harbor branch are facing a slew of harassment because of a single photo in its featured artist exhibition of a bearded man in a lady pirate costume.
The Nazi regime was notorious for burning literature. Particularly the works of Jewish writers, liberals, pacifists, sexologists and anyone else who didn’t agree with the Nazis’ murderous ideals. It’s no coincidence that today’s book challenges all feature Black, Indigenous, and other people of color authors, as well as LGBTQ voices. Different tune, same song.
So in honor of Remembrance Day, offer a kind word to your library workers. Write to your lawmakers that you oppose book banning efforts and you will vote accordingly. Attend a school or library board meeting. Better yet, run for your local school or library board.
Because book-banners are predictable. They are tired. There is no version of history that has ever looked on them fondly.
But they are also persistent; and we can’t beat them without your help.
Shannon Ozog Somes