Reviews | Your librarian wants to challenge, not ban

Librarians take a dim view of the censorship of any work, no matter where it comes from. The greatest danger to our democracy is not “woke librarians”, whoever they are, but those who would not just ban books, but would burn them too. Suggestions for such activities only come from the right these days, and everyone, awake or not, should be appalled by the idea.

Siobhan Dugan
Washington

For the editor:

I enjoyed Stanley Kurtz’s guest essay on the “Waking Librarian”. Fifteen years ago, I went to the children’s section of our local library to find one of my favorite childhood books, “Calico Captive,” by Elizabeth George Speare.

At the time, I couldn’t remember the exact title, and the children’s librarian offered to do some research to see if she could figure it out. But she also mentioned that a librarian a few years before tried to purge the children’s section of books that portrayed Native Americans in a bad light, so I’m unlikely to find it on the shelves.

In the end, I bought the book at a thrift store, read it again, and it’s true – the book doesn’t portray Native Americans well. (That doesn’t represent wealthy white Canadians either, by the way.)

Nonetheless, as a liberal from a liberal city, I believe libraries should grow, not shrink. I’m still appalled by the actions of this “woke librarian” at the time, and wouldn’t be surprised if such purges became more common.

Elizabeth Balls
Brookline, Mass.

For the editor:

After reading “The Battle for the Soul of the Library”, I was first surprised by the statistics of how extremely liberal the field of librarianship is. Yet the right is historically not the friend of libraries. Library holdings are constantly on the cutting boards in conservative parts of the country, and lawmakers in states like mine are trying to ban books on LGBTQ themes, critical race theory, and other topics.” woke up” from the shelves.

It’s not hard to find conservative ideas in libraries; they’re not banned, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, your local librarian will be happy to help (for what it’s worth, my local library system has the two conservative books the author suggested for “balancing controversial books”).

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