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When the Challenges are Very Political

November 15, 2022 @ 1:10 pm 1:45 pm EST

When a book or materials challenge is made in good faith by people with legitimate interests in the outcome, then however difficult it is to follow policies and hold a dialog with your community, there will be an outcome that is in line with the First Amendment and your library’s values. However, there is an entirely different class of book bans that are political, politicized, and performative which must be understood in order to be properly engaged. Many times, these challenges use books to attack the library’s funding, its staff, or even its existence as a community anchor. Other times, performative and politicized challenges seek to attack or negate the people the books represent. In order to face these unusual types of challenges, library leaders need to see that they are more expansive than previous intellectual freedom fights and to be prepared to engage them on multiple fronts at once.

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