Welcome to Banned Books Week, 2019. I’ve made it something of a tradition to participate, and this year is no different! I invite you to join me this year, share your blog posts and check out what others have to say. The link will be open the entire week!
There was a definite theme this year with the books that were banned and challenged, that being that they included LGBTQIA* content. This did not limit itself to just books either.
Libraries faced challenges to their space usage as well. The ALA’s notes this pattern:
As libraries work to become centers of tolerance and inclusion – providing information, resources, and programming for those who are underrepresented or marginalized in their communities – the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has noted a repressive push back by those who believe that a more diverse and just society poses a threat to their beliefs and their way of life.American Library Association State of America’s Libraries report, 2019, page 15
One of the places that this was very noticeable was around the protests of an event that a number of libraries have been doing is Drag Queen Story Hour. This is pretty much what it sounds like, a story hour at the library where drag queens read picture books to the kids and their parents. Sounds pretty awesome to me! I know that, as a little girl, I would have LOVED to have someone who dressed in all the glitter and glitz and pretty dresses to read me stories!
But it had gotten a lot of pushback and hate from people who see it as “solely to indoctrinate children into transgenderism and homosexuality.” There was protesting, including some potentially very frightening instances, and some got canceled.
But, overwhelmingly, these events have thrived and been met with great repsonse (I have some friends who have attended ones with their children who absolutely loved them – the pictures are so much fun)!!
There is certainly a rising presence in the United States of being vocal about hatred of one group or another. The more that these are given voice to, the stronger the opposition becomes to anything that praises or raises up diversity. I think that means it becomes even more important for us to stand up for those stories that share the voices of diverse people. There is so much beauty in the vast differences in this world, and those should be celebrated.
I want to share one resource I came across about Defending LGBTQ Stories, it has some excelent ideas and information in it.