Survey: What Happened During Pride Month? Book Censorship News for July 5, 2024

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Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She’s the editor/author of (DON’T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

Last year, following Pride, I pulled together a piece that covered all of the targeted anti-LGBTQ+ attacks on schools, libraries, and bookstores over the course of the month. It’s time to do that again, and like last year, I’m asking for your help.

News media doesn’t always cover these stories. Part of it is a lack of news outlets at the local level. Part of it is that the news outlets at the local level have done a poor job covering bigotry, period, and part of it is that some of these stories never get shared with the media. Even when these stories do make the news, the truth of their provenance isn’t connected — down in the censorship news roundup, for example, you’ll see a story of a bomb threat sent to a New Jersey public library, and most outlets did not note that the threat happened during a drag story time performance at the library.

This is where you come in.

If you experienced or know about a targeted attack on a Pride-themed book display, event, or activity related to libraries, schools, or bookstores, please share that in this Google Form. All of the responses can be anonymous, though providing as much information as possible — locations, type of institution, etc. — will make this much more representative of what’s actually happening.

Even if you do not work in any of those places but have seen a news story about Pride-directed bigotry in them, drop it into the form. I’ve been collecting these stories since mid-May and through the end of June, but certainly, things get missed.

The roundup will run later this month. It will begin with a look at the stories covered by the media, exploring the themes running among them, and then it will share your experiences.

Form responses will close Friday, July 12, 2024.

Book Censorship News: July 5, 2024

  • Ozark Public Library (AR) plans on shutting down for an undetermined amount of time to ban books that the state believes are inappropriate. So not only are they banning books but they’re making it everyone’s problem by shutting down entirely.
  • Escambia County School officials in Florida want to be protected from having to talk in the two lawsuits they’re part of for banning books.
  • While we’re in Florida, here are the staggering costs of book bans, broken down by cost per book, in Alachua County Schools. This expense is the point — these same book banners will turn around and cry irresponsibility on the part of the school.
  • Leander Independent School District (TX) is back at it! The book banners are salivating over getting to remove material under the Texas READER Act, which, you might recall, is currently on hold while in the courts.
  • Books Inc. (Bay area, California) canceled a drag queen story time after receiving a bomb threat.
  • A small arts center outside Boston, Massachusetts, holding a drag story time also received a bomb threat. That story time continued.
  • Idaho’s book ban bill went into effect this week. Recall this is the one where parents can sue library workers. There is still plenty of pushback against the law.
  • “‘We have changed our whole mode in the library to notify every parent every time their child checks out a book. So, if a child checks out a book that their parent doesn’t want them to have access to, they will receive an email immediately and they can contact the school and say this is material I don’t want my child to be exposed to,’ Siers said.” That’s the new policy in Franklin County Public Schools (VA). No privacy for the child, and worse, as soon as the parents want to challenge the book, they can.
  • The State Board of Education in right-wing-controlled Oklahoma has suggested that the educator who gave her students a QR code to access books banned in the state should have her teaching license revoked.
  • The ImagineIf Libraries — sorry, Flathead County Libraries (MT) — which have been roiled in nonsense now for several years are having a problem coming up with a new logo for their new-old name. If your guess as to why is because they won’t hire a professional to do it, then congrats.
  • Montclair Public Library (NJ) had a bomb threat last weekend. Yes, it was over a Drag Story Time.
  • “The Autauga-Prattville Public Library [AL] Board of Trustees last week approved a resolution giving themselves the power to remove any materials they believe inappropriate, whatever a library director may decide.” To be clear, this is not only fascism, but it’s the board deciding they’re the director.
  • The Autauga-Prattville library board is also trying to get out of the lawsuit filed against them. You can read more about that lawsuit here.
  • What Girls Are Made Of will remain on shelves in Osseo District School (MN).
  • Brazil’s been banning books by the pile, and wow, would you look at the fact they cover the same themes of books being banned in the U.S.
  • Miles Adkins, a long-time advocate of book banning in Frederick County Schools (Virginia), was sentenced for his role in the January 6 insurrection this week. This person was given the power to guide a public education system and picked books as his target. They don’t care about the kids. Or education. They care about distracting everyone.
  • Harford County Public Schools (MD) just canceled their AP African American Studies class because it’s “too divisive.” That left 100 students scrambling to find a new class.
  • 1 in 4 Wisconsin school districts have dealt with book challenges since 2020. That’s an astonishing number.
  • Book censorship is being pushed by conservative church folks in the Rio Grande Valley (TX). This is where one district, Mission Independent School District, pulled nearly 700 books within 5 minutes of their request. It’s not happening quietly, though.
  • In research, that’s not surprising to anyone paying attention, but that is sorely needed because people aren’t; it’s stories by and about Black women and girls disproportionately targeted by book bans.
  • People showed up to voice their feelings — for and against — book bans in the Corpus Christi Public Library (TX). Recall this is a community very much being impacted by a local Moms For Liberty group.
  • “A new Tennessee law that specifically bans books with sexually explicit imagery went into effect on Monday. It changes the state’s existing restrictions on materials allowed in schools, explicitly barring materials that contain nudity sexual excitement, sexual conduct or excess violence. It also said materials could not appeal to the ‘prurient interest,’ a term that faced intense debate in earlier legislative sessions.” Another state with a new book ban law targeting books that don’t exist in libraries but that will target them anyway because of how vague the language is.
  • The First American Union Understood The Necessity of Public Libraries and Education: Book Censorship News for June 28, 2024

  • Here Come The Public School Closures: Book Censorship News, June 21, 2024

  • States That Have Banned Book Bans: Book Censorship News, June 14, 2024

  • How Alabama Library Supporters Took Action and You Can, Too: Book Censorship News, June 7, 2024

  • Chilling Editorial Cartoons About Book Banning: Book Censorship News, May 31, 2024

  • Here’s Where Library Workers are Prohibited From Their Own Professional Organization: Book Censorship News, May 24, 2024

  • What Do Book Challenge Forms Look Like?: Book Censorship News, May 17, 2024

  • How To Prepare for Pride Month in Libraries 2024: Book Censorship News, May 10, 2024

  • Are Librarians Criminals? These Bills Would Make Them So: Book Censorship News, May 3, 2024

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