#FightfortheFirst - The Ada County Library District

Just because the legislature is out of session does not mean that it is time for us to kick up our feet and sit back. In March, while the legislature was still in session, the Ada County Library board removed 6 books from its system at its March meeting.  This decision was not made by the library staff and was not subject to the Library District's own book review guidelines or with notice to the general public.  

In a statement to the Idaho Statesman, the Ada Community Library board said it decided to review its policy on what criteria to use to judge whether a book is “harmful to minors.” Upon its review, board members determined that their policy did not follow Idaho code, which prohibits the “disseminating material harmful to minors".

Six books were deemed "harmful to minors" and were found on an unspecified banned and challenged book list from 2021. Note that none of these books are children's books and a number of these books are not young adult books at all.  They include:

  • Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe (adult graphic novel)
  • Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison (adult fiction)
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (adult fiction)
  • All Boys Aren't Blue by George M Johnson (YA memoir)
  • Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez (YA fiction)
  • The Book is Gay by Juno Dawson (YA nonfiction).

The Ada County Library Board has since walked back their decision when they were challenged with violating the Idaho Open Meetings Law and the books have been returned to the Ada County Library shelves.  The board has since stated that it does not intend to revisit the issue and acknowledged the error, reiterating that those "votes are ineffective and the books discussed will remain in the library’s collection pending any further action”.

Rediscovered Books joins The Cabin in supporting that all Idahoans have the right to read freely.  Shadow banning books is still banning books.  Removing books from the shelves without the processes in place by the individual libraries and library districts themselves is still banning books.  Requiring parental consent to access books that are not on the shelves is still banning books.  

If you want to take action, you can: 

  • Send feedback to the Ada County Library Board 
    • If you are a patron of the Ada County Library Board and disagree with the removal of books from the Ada County libraries, please take a moment and send them an email at board@adalib.org.
  • Cast your vote on May 16.
    • Board members for the Ada County Library, as well as the Kuna and Meridian, are on the ballot. If you feel strongly about this issue, we encourage you to research the candidates and vote on May 16. Learn what is on the ballot and where to vote here.
  • Support your own local libraries by sending letters and emails of support to their boards.
  • Write a postcard of support to your local library at one of our postcard writing stations in Boise or Caldwell. 
  • Check out Rediscovered Books #ReadFreely project and take part in opening conversations about banned books.