Censorship in the Treasure Valley
Want to know more about local censorship? You're in the right place!
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.
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 resoureces from the UABB!
NEWS & ARTICLES LINKS:
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 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)
“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)
Book Banning Efforts Expand Across the US. (New York Times, 2/8/22)
Actions you can take here in the Treasure Valley
Register to Vote - VoteIdaho.gov has all the information that you need to get started!
Want to buy some of the Nampa School District banned books for yourself? Go here!
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.
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: