Censorship in the Treasure Valley
Actions you can take here in the Treasure Valley
Lawmakers are trying to pass three bills that would endanger libraries in the last days of the session. The process is rushed and we need to act quickly.
HB 314 has passed in the House and is moving to the senate. SB 1187 and SB1188 are poorly written and lay out prison terms for librarians, teachers, and booksellers.
Reach out to your lawmakers and address these bills as soon as you can.
Talking Points for All Bills:
Libraries and schools do not provide materials harmful to minors. Censorship of constitutionally protected materials has no place in Idaho.
These bills are government overreach. Libraries already have processes in place to handle complaints about materials at the local level.
These bills are a violation of parents’ rights to choose what their children do and do not read. Libraries serve all the people in their communities. What is right for one family may not serve the needs of another. No parent has the right to make that choice for any other parent.
These bills will radically change how libraries operate.
Additional Talking Point for House Bill 314:
The threat of lawsuits will have a chilling effect, forcing libraries to choose whether providing materials that support their communities is even possible under the threat of lawsuits.
This private cause of action is citizen vigilantism and has the potential to tear apart our communities.
Additional Talking Point for Senate Bills 1187 and 1188:
Idahoans reject laws that criminalize librarians, teachers, and professors for doing their jobs.
The threat of injunctions against private entities will have grave consequences for library collections, as booksellers and service providers may choose not to do business in Idaho.
Find your legislator here, AND send a message to the entire House at firstname.lastname@example.org AND the Senate at email@example.com. Please also direct your messages to the Senate State Affairs committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show Your Support for Local Libraries
Make a video and post it on your favorite social media platform talking about why you love your local library. Post it using the hashtag #LetIdahoRead.
The Meridian Library Board needs our support. On March 20, hearings will be held to dissolve the Meridian Library District. Please send your comments of support to the Meridian Library Board here.
Attend the Ada County Commissioners meeting on Monday, March 20, 6 p.m., at the Ada County Court House, First Floor Public Hearing Room, 200 W. Front Street, Boise. Residents of the Meridian Library Library District are welcome to testify.
Be informed. Learn how book bans violate the First Amendment and know what to do to fight them.
Giving Up is Not an Option: Book Censorship News (Book Riot, 3/1/2023)
Send an email to the House Education Committee (email@example.com) or to the members of the committee. If they announce the bill far enough in advance, you may have a chance to testify.
Contact your district legislator. Even if they are not on the Education Committee, reach out to them and let them know how you feel about HB 139 or any other bills. Not sure who your legislators are? You can find out here.
Get the word out. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, post something on your Social Media networks, talk to friends and acquaintances about what is going on.
Make Contact. Write to your local school and community librarians to share your support. Let your principals, superintendents, and school board members know how important it is to protect the freedom to read.
- A Template for talking with School and Library Boards about Banned Books
- Template for emailing your Representatives through Everylibrary.
- Template for writing Legislators - Book Riot
Support the Idaho Library Association. Your membership and donation can help with advocacy against censorship and access to books and libraries at the state level in Idaho.
- Buy an official ILA "Let Idaho Read" t-shirt - As of 3/8/2023, you have helped to raise nearly $5,500.
Register to vote - VoteIdaho.gov has all the information that you need to get started!
Rediscovered Books' Response to HB 139
February 15, 2023
No matter how you slice it, HB 139 is government sanctioned censorship, and is a blatant and irresponsible act by the Idaho Legislature to undermine the professionalism of libraries and schools.
HB 139 is designed to eliminate access in schools and public libraries to any materials that mentions or alludes to any expression of sexuality including LGBTQIA+ in any format. To enforce that code, the bill encourages individuals to sue the institution for each instance in the sum of $10,000. This tactic uses fear and intimidation to force conformity around a single narrow point of view.
Our world is made of many voices, experiences, and environments. The LGBTQIA+ population, their stories and history are not material to be censored. It is a part of who we are, as are the people, stories, and history of Native Americans, immigrants, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and all the people of our world. Schools and libraries need more inclusivity, not less,to prepare our children and our communities to understand and navigate the complex and overwhelming amounts of information in our world.
The primary goal of our schools and libraries is to help children and adults have access to diverse materials and help them gain the skills to think deeply and analytically about the information they encounter. Schools and libraries give students a chance to develop and practice those navigational skills with the assistance of trained and thoughtful teachers and librarians.
HB139 does everything it can to sabotage this goal.
It is only by banding together to fight exclusive and horrific laws such as these that Idaho voters and citizens can make their voices heard and work to build an inclusive Idaho where everyone is heard, seen, and represented.
Rediscovered Books' Statement on Censorship and Banned Books
May 11, 2022
Today the sun rose, the birds sang, people moved about their everyday lives, and yet another incidence of Book Banning has occurred in the Treasure Valley. The actions taken by the Nampa School District Board banned an extensive list of books based on the request of 100 citizens and without the due process set out by its own guidelines. Daily we are hearing more and more incidences of books being taken from the shelves of schools and public libraries, often done without public comment or even the awareness of libraries or professional librarians.
Books matter. Access to books matters. Books are tools for understanding complex issues. They develop empathy, they expand our perspectives. Limiting young people’s access to books does not protect them from dealing with life’s complexities and challenges. People, and especially young people, deserve to see themselves reflected in a library’s books. Their stories matter, they matter.
Removing books that some find unacceptable negates the value and place of all people in our society. Book bans harm communities. Book bans censor community members from our national, democratic dialogue. They undermine the legal and social rights of individuals, family, and friends as a part of the fabric of our communities. Individuals should be trusted to make decisions on their own about what they read. A small group of parents do not have the right to choose what other people’s children read or to decide whose voices and experiences matter.
As an Independent Bookstore, we value the right to read. We value access to stories of all kinds for all people. And we will continue to provide that access for all people to read. There comes a time when the actions of a few need the voices of the many to stand up for those who are being assaulted for existing or, worse, being erased from existence. Join our voice in providing access to all books for all people.
The time is now and we are asking you to join us to protect all voices and provide a place where all voices matter.
The National Council Against Censorship (NCAC) has some great information on Book Banning around the US.
The National Coalition Against Censorship was formed by a group of activists affiliated with the ACLU in response to the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Miller v. California, which narrowed First Amendment protections for sexual expression and opened the door to obscenity prosecutions. As an alliance of more than 50 national non-profits, including literary, artistic, religious, educational, professional, labor, and civil liberties groups, we have engaged in direct advocacy and education to support First Amendment principles for over 40 years.
The National Coalition Against Censorship has written to the Board of Trustees of the Nampa School District in Idaho after the School Board voted to permanently remove 22 books from the District’s libraries for allegedly containing “pornography.” Click on the link to read NCAC's response to the Nampa School Board.
NCAC has a great array of resources for students, educators at all levels, librarians, school officials, activists, curators, and artists.
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Pen America pushes back against the banning of books and the intolerance, exclusion, and censorship that undergird it.
The American Library Association (ALA) has a list of actions to take to support your local libraries and librarians.
The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world. Founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the mission of ALA is “to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” The ALA opposes widespread efforts to censor books in US schools and libraries.
The ALA has found polling that shows a majority of people across party lines oppose removal of materials from libraries and trust libraries and librarians to curate their collections to meet the needs of their clientele.
The ALA has a new FIGHT CENSORSHIP page with a list of actions and resources when you want to take action to support your library.
Learn more about how to defend the right to read in your community and stand against censorship using resources from the UABB!
NEWS & ARTICLES LINKS:
Public Hearing Set for dissolution of Meridian Library District (Idaho 2 News, 3/1/2023) - The public hearing will begin at 6:00 PM Monday, March 20, 2023 in the 1st floor Public Hearing Room of the Ada County Courthouse, 200 W. Front Street, Boise, Idaho 83702.
Ada County Commissioners receive petition to dissolve Meridian Library District (Idaho Press, 2/15/2023)
Read the petition here.
After library bill vote, Boyle abruptly steps down from Idaho House Education Committee (Capital Sun, 2/2/2023)
Kuna School District places 25 books under restricted access after Idaho Legislators request removal (Idaho Press, 2/15/2023)
Meridian Residents File Petition to Eliminate Library District (KVTB, 2/15/2023)
Read the text of HB 139, which opens the door for individuals to sue schools and libraries for "harmful" materials.
An ‘unprecedented flood’ of book bans engulfs U.S. school districts, PEN report says (Oregon Capital Chronicle, 10/5/2022)
The History of Book Bans and Their Changing Targets in the US (National Geographic, 9/8/22)
Nampa to Consider New Policy for Removing Books (Idaho Press, 9/8/22)
Obscenity case seeking to bar Barnes & Noble from selling 2 books to minors dismissed by judge (The Virginian Pilot, 8/30/22)
Boise School District Candidate Information - 2022 Election
Boise Trustee Candidates take Questions from Ed News' Kevin Richert in Recorded Forums (IDEDNEWS.org, 8/10/22)
Deadline for Requesting Absentee Ballot in Boise School Board Race is Friday (Idaho Capital Sun, 8/24/22)
Meridian residents overwhelmingly testify in support of their library (Boise State Public Radio, 8/18/22)
Analysis: Boise's Sleepy School Trustee Elections Could be a Thing of the Past (Idaho Capital Sun, 8/11/22)
Book Bans Are Threatening America's Democracy. Here is how to fight back (Washington Post, 8/9/22)
Meridian Library Board hearing complaints from Liberty Dogs (KTVB, 8/9/2022)
Librarians Prepare For Continued Effort to Ban Books (Idaho Education News, 7/21/22)
Idaho ACLU files public records request related to Nampa School Book Ban. (7/8/22)
“LIBRARIES ARE PROMOTING AN AGENDA TO DESTROY FAMILIES”: IDAHO STATE REP PARTNERS ON PROGRAM TO REMOVE BOOKS FROM LIBRARIES (BookRiot, 5/4/22)
Teens Fight For the Right to Read with "Banned Book Clubs" and Lawsuits (Washington Post, 5/3/22)
Idaho Lawmakers OK Legislation that Could Fine, Jail Librarians (AP, 3/8/22)
Book Banning Efforts Expand Across the US. (New York Times, 2/8/22)
Want to buy some of the Nampa School District banned books for yourself? Go here!
Support the Read Freely Project
We started the Read Freely Project in 2021 to highlight and distribute recent titles that are diverse, brilliant, and vulnerable to censorship in the current social climate. Last year, members of the community gave away 750 books in the Treasure Valley and had some incredible conversations! This project is a proactive movement against censorship. In 2022, we will have given out 1000 books to the Treasure Valley thanks to our generous donors and willing volunteers.
Participate in an Event
- Follow the Nampa Banned Book Club on Facebook for more on local events.
- Visit the Action Stations in each of our Rediscovered Books locations to see what you can do.
Books Banned in the Treasure Valley in 2022
This is our current comprehensive list of books that have been banned in the Treasure Valley this year. Please contact us if you have updates you would like to see included. This is a list of outright banned books, not necessarily books that have only been challenged.
One of the books banned in Nampa recently is John Green's Looking For Alaska. He has a great video talking about schools banning his book and the wider topic of such bans here: