Today in Bookbanning

Let’s see what the bookbanners are up to, shall we? I know, it’s depressing work, but these people are relentless and they are finding more and more creative ways to tighten the noose around books, free expression, and those of us who value those things.

::  I saw this GoFundMe campaign to support a library whose board fired four employees who defied orders to remove books from the library. And that’s bad enough, but what caught my eye here was this sign:


The sign, in front of what is clearly the children’s section of the library, reads:

As a safety precaution, children under the age of 12 may not be unattended. The library cannot be held responsible for your child. Thank you for your cooperation.

And look, maybe that’s simply about the safety of children being left unsupervised; it may even be an advisable and wise policy. But I have to admit to being saddened by the loss to young people of a safe space that I enjoyed in my childhood. I spent many of my childhood hours hanging around in libraries, reading and looking through books, while my parents were off running this or that errand. We continue to send the ever more insidious message to our kids that the world is an inherently dangerous place and that they are not to be allowed to explore it at all until such time as they are, what? Of legal age to drive, or serve in the military? Both of which you can do years before you can vote, or drink alcohol.

Also, I can’t help thinking that this sign isn’t just about that. I can’t help thinking it’s a prophylactic measure. This way, it’s not the evil librarians’ fault if Little Johnny is (gasp!) exploring the shelves on his own and happens upon a copy of something dangerous! something that will warp and pervert him! I can’t help wondering if this “No unattended kids under 12” policy isn’t so much aimed at protecting kids but protecting the librarians from some busybody Mom-For-Liberty type who spends her toilet time watching LibsOfTIktok videos who is livid that her precious Little Johnny somehow managed to get his hands on a copy of Gender Queer and maybe actually read a few pages of it. To the fainting couch, Helen!

::  The library in the item above is in Alabama. Not to be outdone is Louisiana, whose state legislature is considering making it a literally jailable offense for any state employee to do business with the American Library Association. I won’t quote all the nauseating details here, but I will note the ongoing creativity our country’s right-wing has in finding ways to tighten the screws on whatever the hell it is they don’t want other people doing. They’re not going to violate any specific rights, you see; they’re simply making it harder and harder and harder to actually exercise those rights, or they’re making it easier and easier and easier for people who don’t want you exercising your rights to stop you from doing so. It’s Stealth Fascism, but it’s still Fascism.

Be aware, folks–especially if you’re at all inclined to dip your toes into the “Third Party” waters this November for whatever reason.


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